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It’s a Wrap! The Brooklyn-Based Label That Designed the Turbans for Vogue‘s Cover

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Imaan Hamman and Iman wearing Dior and The Wrap Life for Vogue Arabia March Collector’s Issue 2018

Vogue Arabia’s first anniversary issue features the legend known as Iman alongside Imaan Hammam wearing marabou feather-trimmed dresses plucked from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2018 runway and contrasting, towering head wraps. The gravity-defying turbans were dreamed up by a small, black-owned online business based in Brooklyn called The Wrap Life. Founded by Nnenna Stella in 2014, The Wrap Life was launched when Stella, who was working as a waitress, wanted more than the repurposed winter scarf she was wearing as a head piece. “I took the search for head wraps online and assumed I’d have my share of shops to purchase from. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single store I was excited about. Then I got an intuitive nudge and thought, why not just open my own shop?” recalls the entrepreneur to “I wanted other women to have online access to colorful head wraps that could be shipped anywhere in the world.”

Specializing in fabrics that feature both handprinted traditional African prints and contemporary prints using fabrics sourced from Ghana and Morocco, Stella couldn’t have foreseen styling two of the biggest models for a major magazine cover. In fact, when Vogue Arabia first reached out to her, she thought it was a joke, and even asked for a call sheet. But she is thrilled with the outcome. “The collaboration was literally a gift from providence. On January 1st, I set the intention to have my work on the cover of a major magazine, then on February 9th, I was on set styling Iman and Imaan. It was all quite perfect,” she says. When creating the pieces for the two supermodels, Stella admits she just listened to her intuition. “Head wraps and turbans are interesting in that the person wearing or styling one literally has hundreds of options. The Wrap Life teaches our customers and supporters to get creative and that’s what I did, and made something I felt was beautiful.”

Courtesy of The Wrap Life

She says working on the set for the magazine’s biggest issue to date was a dynamic experience. “I enjoyed seeing some of the work that takes place for the creation of a Vogue cover. Essentially, everyone does their best and what you get is a cover that inspires and communicates beauty. It was an eye opener for me and expanded my world and my idea of what’s possible.”

In recent years, black businesswoman have been challenging the fashion and beauty industry when it comes representation and inclusion, including Iman, who launched her own range of inclusive makeup in 1994 (and which was also used in the Vogue Arabia cover). Stella, who only found out her Brooklyn-based label was featured on Vogue Arabia while she was scrolling through Instagram, reposted the cover on her personal page, writing: “As wearing head wraps and headdress become more common, we are so excited to be of service in a way that shares black and brown beauty. The world needs more of it. Thank you to the team at Vogue for inviting us. What a dream.”

Having already had her designs worn by the likes of Issa Rae and Whoopi Goldberg, she hopes to one day see Björk in one of her colorful hand-printed head wraps. Another goal is to also offer a platform for all women to feel included and empowered through her stunning campaigns and designs. “The Wrap Life is a brand that serves the woman who is curious about what she can create and become. Along her curious journey, we support her with tools and messages that expand her ability to create and express her best self. Any woman who’s open to create and express is a woman capable of many things. We need more women like this in the world.”

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