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Brands to challenge beauty norms at Afro Hair & Beauty Live

HAIR: Live hair demonstrations will take place over the weekend

FROM BLACK Panther,/i> to Beyonce (and dare we mention, Stella McCartney’s inspired collection), 2018 seems to be the year the world finally acknowledges the influence of African culture – unfortunately though, this hasn’t quite translated to the appreciation of African beauty.

At Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE, Africa is making an even bigger impact with new cutting edge brands from hair to fashion making bold, status quo defying statements. For many brands this marks a UK debut, proudly flying the flag for “brand Africa” – in all shades and forms of beauty.

This year the fashion show is curated by Haiti73 Agency with an Afro pop-up boutique featuring prime designers including Dorcas Creates, Joydesioux, and award-winning luxury African fashion brand Eloli (meaning "it is beautiful). The brand was created by three sisters from Cameroon offering original designs for both men and women, and has been featured in Vogue and Elle magazine).

Breaking Stigma is Child’s Play
This year will see exclusive launches from African brands including Sibahle Collection - an innovate toy brand showcasing their brand new beautiful albino doll as part of their vanilla scented afro-haired black doll range.

The brand was inspired by co-founder Caroline Hlahla, whose step-daughter did not like her own natural hair. The introduction of an albino doll is to challenge the stigma of albinism, which is particularly rife in Zimbabwe, Caroline’s birthplace and that of Khulile Vilakazi-Ofusu her business partner’s country, South Africa.

The entrepreneurial partners will also be showcasing their afro textured hair brand, Bounce Essentials Hair, also born from creating a solution to a personal desire to have hair extensions that were, unlike typically straight options, similar to their natural hair textures.

Challenging Africa’s Poor Perception
After noticing a gap in the market for luxury, natural skincare products, former PR Executive, Valerie Obaze founded natural beauty brand R&R Luxury in 2010.

An award-winning brand, R&R Luxury has garnered international recognition in the world of luxury beauty with Forbes hailing them as an “African Skincare Trailblazer”, Elle Magazine as a “beauty brand to watch” and being the recipient of several accolades of excellence.

Most importantly, R&R Luxury prides itself on enabling opportunities for the rural women in west Africa who help to produce the brand’s high-quality products. AHLB 2018 will be R&R Luxury's official launch in the UK where they will be offering exclusive giveaways at their stand.

Tackling the Psychology of Afro Hair
As a graduate of psychology, Oby Okonkwo used her academic knowledge to identify the deep-rooted issues exclusive to the black community and their relationship with hair.

Combining her passion for hair with psychology, Oby founded M.O.S.H Hair Hub - a brand dedicated to simplifying haircare processes whilst empowering women. Oby dedicates much of her time to connect with her loyal customer who she relies on for feedback and business development. For M.O.S.H - an acronym of the services offered by the brand; salon service, consultation, advice and organic products manufactured in Nigeria, it’s never just about hair, and this is reflected in the customer-centric approach to business.

Rewriting the Retail Narrative
After noticing the detrimental effect mainstream media’s portrayal of Africa was having on her child, Christiana Akinbogun, decided to take matters into her own hands by delivering Black History Month presentations in her child's school. From there she took it a step further by organising local pop-up events selling African products. “We don’t want to put ‘made in Africa’, do you know what I mean?” this response from a buyer further ignited Christina’s fire and the vision grew to one of consciously engaging with Africans, sourcing products directly from the continent. This birthed One Store Africa - a family run online marketplace which specialises in sourcing, importing, recycling and supplying quality African goods to its customers.

As a busy criminologist and mother, Christina needed a low maintenance solution for her long, thick natural hair and so partnering with her cousin in Nigeria to form Ninny Hair Extensions - Beautiful African Hand Braided Wigs made to make you look stunning, saves you time and money.

Tickets are available online via Eventbrite for just £14 (plus booking fee).

Get involved using hashtags #AHBL2018

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