When it comes to fashion statement pieces, T-shirts may very well be the most enduring type. From slogans to graphic and souvenir style T-shirts, people are letting their ideologies, passions and pride show through their attire like never before. This is happening in black America as much as it is anywhere else and entrepreneurs are stirring the pot by putting affirming and attention-arresting messages on Afrocentric clothing shirts and more. Melanin Apparel is one such company. They are dedicated to fostering black pride through their brand of cultural clothing shirts that tout the beauty and assets of natural black hair. |
Twinned with ethnic pride, the naturally curly movement and the natural hair movement are the way this company uses their daring, pigment rich colors of Black Pride clothing to trumpet the various types of hair that is found in those of the African diaspora.
In an in-your-face blast on chemically treated hair one shirt says, “My curls have no reason to lye.” This alludes to the chemical most commonly used in relaxers, which is known as sodium hydroxide (lye). Another Melanin Apparel T-shirt says, “I don’t need a relaxer, my hair ain’t stressed out.”
The African American Apparel that Melanin Apparel is famous for runs counter to the centuries of training and indoctrinating that attaches inferiority and shame to the features of black people, including their hair.
Melanin Apparel’s black pride t-shirts and truth-telling t-shirts, hoodies, cropped tops, totes, tanks, and the sweatshirts for this brand celebrate the melanin, or pigment that is found in greater concentrations in black people. It affects skin and hair color. They see the best design lab as black life, and their color palette of attire matches and complements black hues of skin while speaking about the unique hair textures found in the race. It’s about racial identity and less tampered hair promoted through attire.
The qualities of black hair expressed through clothing is non-apologetic and promotes that proud sense of self. Melanin Apparel is doing their part to enrich identity formation in people of color. One of their popular Natural Hair T-shirts borrows from a Maybelline commercial by announcing, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s melanin.”
Collective identities have taken a beating in the past, and this brand could be one contender for leveling the playing field and reversing the negative feelings that black people have tended to have toward their ethnicity after digesting the various messages that have inundated their space.
Address: 1807 Cobourg ct., Parkville. MD. 21234
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