From The Root To The Tip, Black Hair Proclaimed
In October 2019, Dazed Beauty published a story titled “Virginie Moreira Is The Next Big Thing”, an apt prediction for the hairstylist, who has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, FKA twigs, Naomi Campbell and Kelela, and lent her skills to publications such as Vogue Italia, Dazed, British Vogue, Self Service and T Magazine, to name but a few.
But what Virginie’s work represents is more than simply artistic excellence. Hers is a pioneering voice in fashion, one which champions the beauty of Black creativity in an industry that is all too often lacking in diverse perspectives. Teaming up with her friend and collaborator Ib Kamara, Virginie offers us a celebration of Black hair - championing its history and its beauty with her unique creative eye.
Can you talk about the styles you’ve created for this shoot?
The styles are a representation of Blackness, and staying serene in the face of adversity.
How did you begin your career in hair?
I’ve always done hair. On myself from primary school until secondary school. I then worked in a salon for work experience. As well as the salon I did shoots with friends and assisted my seniors on shoots. Eventually I created my own clientele and here I am today.
How did you first meet Ib? Did you begin working together right away?
Yes, I met Ib at CSM. I was doing hair for one of Campbell [Addy]’s shoots, and Ib had asked me if I could do hair for one of his shoots. The rest is history. We also share many dear friends so the connection was fab from the start.
Can you talk about some of the projects you’ve worked on together?
There have been so many but one of my favourites was his debut show for the Soft Criminal project in New York. It was his and my first show, so it meant a lot for me to be part of this journey to demonstrate the Pride of Blackness in all its intersectional glory. It was a very emotional show.
The Vogue Italia cover with Paolo Roversi with beautiful Adut was not only an honour but very pivotal as a September issue. We had fun and that was what made it special.
What would you say are the philosophies you share?
Well, being from the African diaspora, there is a longing to find or create a community outside of your traditional upbringing, but at the same time honour what those traditions mean to you. I think myself, Ib and other diaspora creatives have created a movement that is unapologetic and graceful and tells our stories through that which we do best. Creating dialogues that push the envelope on what it means to be your most authentic self. At the same time pushing it towards what is relevant to us as Afro raised in Europe. Representation is key.
The industry is still rife with instances of cultural appropriation when it comes to Black hairstyles. In your own words, can you talk a little about the importance of respecting Black hair and its cultural history?
Black hair is the representation of African culture in its practice, demonstration and presentation from people of diasporic origins. Therefore it’s a dear and sacred art form and medium for me as a hairstylist. Cultural appropriation is a very sensitive subject because it takes place in more than just Black hairstyles. Essentially the African culture itself is being appropriated and sold for a specific benefit which may not directly contribute to the betterment of its origins. I believe those people should be held accountable. I can’t control everyone who has adoration for Blackness as it’s there to be enjoyed. I will always empower people who I believe are authentic and want to empower the people who represent this sacred practice.
How do you use your work to envisage a better future for the industry and the world at large?
I believe in each one, teach one. There’s only so much I can do as a hairstylist but building on that is a perfect start to expand my platform and resources to provide for the ones who come after me.
Who are some artists who inspire you and your work?
My peers: Ib, Campbell [Addy], Mowa[lowla], Carrie Stacks, ASAI, Mischa Notcutt (11casting), Liz Johnson Artur, Arca. Pat McGrath, Kerry James Marshall. God, Mother Nature.
You’ve worked with so many amazing people – Solange, Naomi Campbell, Kelela, FKA twigs – not to mention creating work for some of the industry’s leading publications. What would be your dream project and with whom?
I feel like it’s all been so fast and all these experiences have been wonderful. I even got the chance to work with Erykah Badu, who I would say would be my number one - so I’d love for that to happen again. But at this point I’m happy to work with whoever wants to contribute to the betterment of our future. Artists who have visions and want to create real impact. The bigger the better - I’m your girl!
Three words to describe your work?
Bold, authentic, significant.
One piece of advice when it comes to hair?
Try it all but be true to yourself!
Photographer: Ib Kamara
Stylist: Ib Kamara
Hairstylist: Virginie Moreira
Interview: Georgia Graham