Back in December of 1999 I wrote an article that focused on the fascinating evolution of dreadlocks as a major hair fashion event. After all, gurus of the fashion world were showcasing nappy dos for the some of the hottest European collections.
I have to admit that I thought the look was so over that it would never last another season. How wrong I was. Not only did dreads remain strong, they continued to sizzle from fashion catwalks to boardwalks.
This phenomenal hot hair trend has been passionately embraced by men, women and children from all walks of life.
As we prepare to step into 2002 and brand new beginnings, dreading up promises to be bigger and better than ever. So what is behind the incredible popularity of these hot hair styles?
Dreadlocks provide an incredible interconnection between fashionable undone chic and totally individualistic style for the person that wears them. Steeped in ancient roots that encompass ancient religious and cultural traditions, dreads have existed since the earliest recorded times.
Note: To read a great book with wonderful photos of gorgeous dreadlocks check out Dread by Francesco Mastalia, Alfonse Pagano with an introduction by Alice Walker.
Although I confess that I do not have in-depth knowledge of all the various cultural, political and spiritual aspects of dreadlocks, I am a big fan of a beautiful set of dreaded ropes and am always in awe when I encounter a well tended head of nappy dreads. I am also not an expert on the many and unique differences between Dreads and Locked hair, which are different.
Many people hold the belief that hair dreading is not, and can never be, a fad but is the reflection of a long term cultural set of beliefs. We could debate this topic nonstop for years and never totally resolve the issue. For the purpose of this article I am going to focus on little background information into how this hair fad has evolved.
The First Appearance Of Dreadlocks
Although many people hold a myriad of mistaken and controversial beliefs about dreadlocks, they really weren't actually invented by Reggae rock musicians. Dreadlocks evolved from the very earliest of times. The Bible makes reference to dreadlocks and ancient drawings of King Tut also pictured his Highness wearing dreadlocks.
It is a commonly acknowledged fact that the earliest Christians also donned dreadlocks. Throughout the centuries many tribal people wore dreadlocks including Australian aborigines, New Guinea tribes people, religious monks and some African tribes.
Ironically, dreadlocks were not originally developed as part of a fashionable hair fad. To the people that adopted dreadlocks they had intensively deep meanings that reached into physical, mental and spiritual realms.
Nekhena Evans, in her excellent book Hairlocks: Everything You Need To Know. African, Dread & Nubian Locks, points out that dreads and other locked styles are often worn as a symbol of personal awakening for the wearer of the style.
Influence of Rastafarians & Bob Marley
In the 1920s the wearing of dreadlocks were adopted by the Afro-Caribbean religion known as Rastafarianism (Rastas). In the original days of the religion, the creation of dreadlocks occurred over very long periods of time that could take years.
Hair was allowed to twist, knot and lock in its own time and its own way. The result was a matted, knotted hairstyle that honored the Rastafarian's religious beliefs.
Bob Marley and his reggae group, The Wailers, did a lot to promote dreadlocks for other musicians. By the mid-seventies Bob Marley and his brilliant music became a part of mainstream music. Which explains in part the current confusion linking the beginnings of dreads to reggae.
Besides bringing attention to his fabulous dreadlocks, Bob established reggae as part of the rock scene. By the time of his untimely death in 1981, Bob was the official ambassador of Reggae and dreads.
Adoption By Hair & Beauty Industries
When hot 90s rock groups like KoRn adopted their own versions of dreadlocks, the hair and beauty industry found a hot new trend ready to be exploited and promoted. As the 90s approached their end, multitudes of rocks groups, recording artists, and celebrities began adopting the nappy hair styles.
The adoption of dreads have continued into 2001 with musicians like David Hinds from Steel Pulse and Jay Fury from Fury Of Five sporting, as the kids call them, awesome natty fatties. Zack De La Rocha is also admired for his locks.
Information and access to creating do-it-yourself versions of the chic dreads has exploded in the past few years.
Dreadlocks that used to take five years to develop became instantly available at some local salons in about five hours with the help of oils, beeswax and intensive hair twisting. A wide variety of modified dreadlock styles have recently emerged including multi-colored ropes and "dread perms".
John Galliano Inspired Dreadlocks
The appearance of dreadlocks at the Spring/Summer 2000 Fashion Collections made it apparent that deadlocks had burst into the fashion mainstream making dreadlocks the hot hair fashion fad adopted by the hair masses.
John Galliano of Christian Dior was very instrumental in moving dreadlocks to a new level of metamorphosis along with his stunning new fashion collection.
Galliano's stunning runway outfits were high fashion puzzles worn by Rasta inspired women decked out in three separate themes awash in denim, fencing outfits and equestrienne inspired designs.
In keeping with the Rasta inspired collection the Dior high fashion models wore a variety of carefully designed, dreadlock inspired, hairstyles.
Merging ancient customs and wisdom with cutting edge fashion, the dread inspired styles were carefully arranged, styled and glammed up with fashion accessories such as matching silk scarves, multi-hued hair extensions, high shimmer glitters and stunning hair jewels.
The dramatic, warrior inspired, dread styles were carefully and painstakingly created on the heads of the gorgeous fashion models. The styles were worn knotted up, tied down or pinned high on the scalp to create a stunning appearance. The hairdos literally stole the show with their stunning appeal.
Cranking Up The Movement
As the fashion world became crazed over the steamy dreadlock looks all sorts of celebrities popped up wearing their own version of faux dreads. Jennifer Anniston started a press frenzy when she appeared in late 1999 with her temporary dreads that offered no pain but lots of hair gains.
During 2001 superstar Christina Aguilera morphed from faux dreadlocks to cornrows and back to a mixture of micro braids and dreads. Each new twisted, knotted version heightens interest in the increasingly popular style.
Dreadlock Hair Care Items
Another indication of the lasting popularity of dreadlocks is the emergence of a whole new industry that is offering all sorts of dreadlock hair care items such as custom dreadlocks waxes, shampoos and custom hair jewels. A savvy shopper can locate hand crafted tams, Rastafarian sweater vests, dreadlock wigs, wooden and ceramic beads along with special dreading combs.
As the fashion and rock industries continue to claim dreadlock looks you can expect to see many more dreadlock related hair care inventions emerging throughout 2009.
As the fashion and rock industries continue to claim dreadlock looks you can expect to see many more dreadlock related hair care inventions emerging throughout 2002. Some hair industry watchers predict the newly hot array of cool hues and punk-inspired, fractured styles to merge with more traditional dreadlocked tresses for a Spring 2002 ultimate punky, multi-colored, fractured ropey style with lots of sass.
Who knows, in the hair and fashion world, anything is possible. One thing is certain. Dreadlocks will continue to rule in the hair world for some time to come.