Transcultural body spaces: re-inventing and performing headwrap practice among young Congolese women in London

Morsiani, B. 2020. Transcultural body spaces: re-inventing and performing headwrap practice among young Congolese women in London. African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal. 13 (1), pp. 15-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/17528631.2018.1537592

TitleTranscultural body spaces: re-inventing and performing headwrap practice among young Congolese women in London
TypeJournal article
AuthorsMorsiani, B.
Abstract

This article examines embodied representation of race, ethnicity, and gender, questioning ideas of cultural appropriation. Using the London-based Congolese transnational fashion brand Kiyana Wraps as a case study, the article addresses how young Congolese designers re-invent their cultural heritage to conceive the label stylisation and construct meanings of Blackness/Africanness. The article also explores the brand’s social spaces, where the headwrap ritual is used by different actors to perform hybrid identities. In addition, wearing the headwrap reveals symbolic metaphors of empowerment, through which intertwined ‘feminist’ and ‘feminine’ identities are evoked. The paper examines how Congolese women are creatively taking inspiration from the environment of London to produce innovative fashion trajectories as lived socio-cultural experiences. It argues how the headwrap ritual signifies an aesthetic and material process through which specific racial and ethnic boundaries are transcended, fabricating transcultural body spaces which encompass individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds.

KeywordsCongolese diaspora, transnational fashion, hybrid identities, cultural appropriation, UK, DRC
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora: An International Journal
Journal citation13 (1), pp. 15-26
ISSN1752-8631
Year2020
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/17528631.2018.1537592
Web address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17528631.2018.1537592
Publication dates
Published online25 Oct 2018
Published in print02 Jan 2020

Related outputs

Performing cultural identities and transnational ‘imaginaries’: fashion and beauty practices as diasporic spaces among young London Congolese
Morsiani, B. 2019. Performing cultural identities and transnational ‘imaginaries’: fashion and beauty practices as diasporic spaces among young London Congolese. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Humanities

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