To tell the story of the Tignon, we must take you back to the mid-1700’s in the US state of Louisiana. At this time there was racial divide and a clear societal hierarchy in place where men and women of colour were at the bottom. Now imagine a young black woman walking the streets of New Orleans. She’s dressed in her finest, her coiled hair is impeccably styled and accessorized, she radiates with natural beauty and confidence. Surely all eyes are on her.
Well at this point in time, this young woman’s appearance posed a threat to blur the class levels that were in place for so long. In an effort to reinforce women of colour to a lowly status, the Tignon Law was put in place. This law mandated that free and enslaved black women must cover their hair with a piece of cloth when in public spaces. This was believed to diminish their beauty and serve as an identifier to show their low status in society.
In true Black Girl Magic fashion, the creole women of Louisiana took an item that was used to oppress them and made it into something fashionable. Women used cloths of varying colours, textures and patterns to cover their hair in the most intricate ways. With that bold step, the initial intent of the law had backfired because it only made the women appear even more beautiful and alluring.
We at Tignon wanted to bring this part of history to light and celebrate the resilience and creativity of the Creole women in this time while recognizing our ability to come together in strength and present our beauty un-apologetically.