Hats, caps, veils, scarfs, and bandanas. With the various head coverings that are often seen, there are two in particular that have garnished up a bad reputation when it comes to be being seen out in public. I hadn’t thought too much about it until a few months ago when I started back wearing a bonnet myself.
I stopped covering my hair with a bonnet for two years and my hair completely stopped growing. It was breaking off faster than it could grow. As I began to understand the benefits of wearing a bonnet, I also began to wonder why there is such a taboo about women wearing bonnets out in public; it’s often seen as unprofessional, ghetto, or unbecoming. As an item that covers our hair not for fashion, but for protection, I can’t help but wonder about this narrative that says wearing a protective cover on my hair in public is frowned upon. I took this opportunity to sit down with Zariyah Harris, founder and owner of Bourgeois Essentials, which sells luxury high quality bonnets and durags at an affordable price.
Dove: Zariyah tell me more about Bourgeois Essentials and how you got started.
Zariyah: I started Bourgeois Essentials while I was working a full time job as a long term temp administrative assistant. I knew I wanted to start a business that provided a unique product that couldn’t be found in the beauty supply store. Something different from the regular bonnets that are found in the beauty supply store, plus, I felt like the quality of the bonnets weren’t up to par. I wanted to create something that I would be proud to wear any and everywhere, not only because of how it looks, but because of how great the quality of the product is.
Dove: When we spoke previously, you mentioned moms being criticized for wearing bonnets to their children’s school. Why do you think bonnets and durags get such a negative response when worn out in public?
Zariyah: The reason why I think bonnets and Durags have such a negative response when worn in public is because society has set standards of beauty and professionalism that doesn’t support our culture. Therefore, our head coverings are seen as classless. I want to change that and re-invent bonnets and durag as a symbol. They are our crowns.