get the adut look! three texture-embracing hairstyles for afro hair
Hairstylist Jawara talks through how he styled Adut Akech’s hair for i-D's The Homegrown Issue.
Photography Campbell Addy. Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois. Hair Jawara.
The focus of our shoot, It’s a new power revolution, in the Spring 2019 issue, was always the clothes. Styled by i-D’s Senior Fashion Editor-at-Large, Julia Sarr-Jamois, and shot by Campbell Addy, the images tell a story of power dressing in its many guises. But every powerful outfit deserves an equally as powerful hairstyle, right? Well, that’s exactly what hairstylist Jawara served up when he worked his magic on stand-out model Adut Akech.
From the get go, Jawara set some pretty clear intentions. “I wanted to create something chic, but when the word chic is attached to black hair, there’s normally only one or two looks that people think fit that ideal, so I wanted to rethink that assumption,” he explains. “I didn’t just want to style black hair through straightening or braiding, I wanted to use the natural Afro texture to create chic shapes. I wanted to celebrate the versatility of black hair and open up people’s knowledge of what black hair can do.”
“Adut has very coily but soft hair, with tight curls. It’s heavily textured, which I think you would classify as 4C texture,” he says. But Jawara is certain these looks are doable on the full spectrum of Afro textures.
Here, Jawara breaks down the handiwork that went into the three mega hairstyles, so you can try them for yourself too...
I call this shape The Grace, after Grace Jones, but with a new twist. I wanted to create a shape with a lot of volume, something graphic but in a way, a bit odd too, so it’s kinda sloped on one side.
Adut showed up to the shoot with her hair just washed, but I don’t believe there’s such a thing as over-conditioning Afro hair, so I added conditioner, and then two dime-size pumps of Cantu Leave-in Conditioner too. I blow-dried her hair upwards with the comb [diffuser] attachment. The leave-in really helps the structure. Then I added some hair pieces and trimmed to blend.
I cut the corner out of the hair with clippers and scissors, but you can just as easily manipulate the hair to create this shape. Pat the parting into the hair and sculpt the shape with your hands while you blow dry it. I think most afro hair will be able to hold this structure, and even wiry or coarse non-black hair is pretty shapeable.
I was thinking about Diana Ross in Mahogany when I created this style, and how chic she made those hairstyles look that still had natural texture to them. On Adut, I added afro extensions as close to her hair as possible. I used Marley hair as it has great volume.
I didn’t use much product as I wanted to keep the texture as natural as possible. I separated the hair into two and used elastic to tie the hair at different points. If you restrict Afro hair at certain points with elastic it makes these spherical shapes. So I separated her hair into two and tied elastic a few centimetres down each ponytail. Then I split them in two again, and continued to make a chain of these balls, which I looped round and pinned the ends back onto the head.
For this look, I made a unit for Adut but if you have the length, you could do something similar on natural hair too. I blow-dried the hair down and literally just used a hairdryer, hairspray and my hands to create that shape. I like to call it saturn, it’s definitely a planet-inspired look. If you’re doing something like this, I think it’s good to break it up with something a little unorthodox, so one side I lifted the texture up a little bit, so the shape didn’t seem so calm all the way around.
Photography Campbell Addy
Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois
Hair Jawara at Bryant Artists using TIGI. Make-up Ammy Drammeh at Bryant Artists using NARS. Nail Technician Julie Vilanova at Artlist Paris. Set design Miguel Bento at Streeters. Photography assistance Lucas Bullens and Dovile Babraviciute. Styling assistance Christina Smith and Joel Traptow. Hair assistance Sonia Messoudi. Make-up assistance Lisa Michalik. Set design assistance Felix Salasca. Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DM Casting. Retouching Studio RM. Model Adut Akech at The Society.