Rihanna wearing a durag for Vogue. Picture: Instagram.
Rihanna wearing a durag for Vogue. Picture: Instagram.

We stan as Rihanna becomes the first to wear a durag on cover of Vogue

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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How the tables have turned since the re-birth of a durag, a cloth that was used to suppress black women’s beauty and label them as labourers.

Many years later, the durag is back with a different meaning - it is now a symbol of the celebration of black culture.The tainted cloth has been reclaimed as a symbol of black beauty, making its way back to the catwalk and the red carpet. 

Photographed by Steven Klein,  the durag is making its first appearance on the cover of British Vogue's May 2020 issue, worn by the iconic Rihanna. 

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@BadGalRiri stars on the second of two special covers for the May 2020 issue – debuting the first durag on a cover of #BritishVogue. From sparking a beauty revolution with her billion-dollar @FentyBeauty empire to orchestrating industry-defining, inclusive catwalks, Rihanna shows no signs of stopping. Read the full interview with @AfuaHirsch – where they discuss music, fashion and how many children she sees herself having over red wine – at the link in bio now. #Rihanna wears a jacket by @MaisonMargiela Artisanal by @JGalliano, a @SavageXFenty lace body, a @StephenJonesMillinery durag and necklaces by @ChromeHeartsOfficial and @LauraCJewelry. Photographed by @StevenKleinStudio and styled by @Edward_Enninful, with hair by @YusefHairNYC and @NaphiisBeautifulHair, make-up by @IsamayaFfrench using @FentyBeauty and nails by @RedHotNails. With thanks to @JillDemling.

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Not only that, we've also seen the durag trend grow among black men who don it with pride, even our very own Cassper Nyovest is a fan of the symbolic fabric. Men use it to flatten their ‘wave checks’, while most women use it to lay down the edges of their front hair. 

British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful acknowledges in his May 2020 editor's note that seeing a durag hugely celebrated on the cover of British Vogue is significant. 

“Did I ever think that I would see a durag on the cover of Vogue? No reader, I did not. Although this potent symbol of black life – of self-preservation, resistance and authenticity – has an important place in popular culture, it is rarely viewed through the prism of high fashion. Yet here we have the most aspirational and beautiful durag. How exciting.”

He added: “It takes a person of extraordinary charisma to pull off such a moment.” The person in question, Rihanna, has consistently been at the forefront of reframing the narrative around the durag. Indeed, it was Rihanna’s suggestion to include the durag in the first place.

"We worked through a substantial archive of visual references (her fashion and cultural knowledge is encyclopaedic) to find a new proposition. Then suddenly, at 2am, my phone pinged with the latest WhatsApp: ‘How about we go with a durag?’”

Being a rebel that she is, Rihanna has made many people happy by being the first person to wear a durag on a magazine cover. Here are some of the reactions on how her fans took it. 

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