Faux Dreadlocks: Are They Culturally Inappropriate?

Alyssa François | 16 September 2016

All Things Hair investigates faux dreadlocks.

It seems that NYFW will never end without some type of controversial hair trend. This season, the colorful wool faux dreadlocks that were sent down the runway by one of fashion’s biggest houses quickly took the Internet by storm. What exactly is the issue here? Well, for some there’s no issue at all, and for others, the lack of proper credit given to the African culture left many people in an uproar. As a Black woman myself, and a lover of all cultures I really didn’t see the big deal, but I highly understand why some feel offended and do agree proper credit should have been given.

For many years (and sadly still happening now), natural hair in general has been looked upon as “untidy, messy, uncontrollable” to say the least — I too struggled with people’s ridiculous comments during my natural hair transition. But now, every where you turn —no matter one’s ethnicity — people are taking inspiration from natural hairstyles and putting their unique spin on it. This is totally fine, it’s a beautiful thing to finally accept and celebrate the culture of others. Like they say, if you can’t beat them, join them…right?

We at All Things Hair love every type of hairstyle, and as beauty editors, we see all things beauty from a totally different lens. At the end of the day, beauty is about expressing yourself, embracing what you have, and having fun. But yes, it’s good to know the exact origination and history behind cultural hairstyles — take the time to understand it’s true signification and ritualistic meanings. To celebrate dreadlocks and appreciate its culture and origination here are some of our favorite dreadlock hairstyles:

Why We Should Love Real and Faux Dreadlocks

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Beautiful loc hairstyle in a head scarf. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Francois.

After meeting, Q.Noel during Curlfest this past summer, I learned that she’s been growing her locs (as she prefers to call them) since 1995.  She also informed that “locs and dreads are different”. It is said that the term “dreads” originated during the slave trade when our ancestors were brought over on the slave ships, which were actually cargo ships,  explains Noel. When they got to their destination, their hair was called “dreadful”. Additionally, dreadlocks are also linked to the Rastafarian culture.

faux dreadlocks beautifully worn
Faux dreadlocks or real dreadlocks can be worn by anyone.

Before looking at this image and assuming the absolute worst, do you know that there are people of Asian descent that are from or born in the Caribbean? Another reason why it’s good to do some background research before pointing the finger. People have their own reasons as to why they choose to loc their hair, whether they just love the look of the hairstyle or embracing a new journey.

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The beauty of dreadlocks is that it can be worn and styled in a plethora of ways.

Whether these are faux dreadlocks or not, let’s just take the time out to appreciate the beauty of this hairstyle and not the person wearing it. This image depicts how versatile the hairstyle is. It doesn’t really matter who chooses to don the look.

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Be happy with any hairstyle you choose to wear!

Back to the initial question, faux dreadlocks are not culturally inappropriate. There are some African- American women who opt for wearing faux dreadlocks to see how the style looks on them and if the actual locking process is something they want to commit to long term. I have a friend in which I didn’t know she had faux dreadlocks until she recently sent me an image of her pulling them out after wearing them for over six years!

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A sea of gorgeous women from various ethnic groups wearing faux dreadlocks during NYFW. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Should credit be given where and when it’s due? Absolutely! But always keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their own opinions! Our opinion: It’s your hair do what you want with it, and love it!

Love real and faux dreadlocks? Check out more of our favorite dreadlock hairstyles