It’s A Wrap 9 – Featuring Maam Ummul-Khayri

| December 31, 2011

Wrap Star Ann-Marie Davy

“Head wrapping  is the style which I wear uninhibitedly and naturally.”- Maam Ummil-Khayri

This week, I am excited to introduce our featured WrapStar  Maam Ummul-Khayri,  a Fulani native of the Fuuta Tooro in Senegal, West African.  She resides in France where she works in the hotel industry. She says: “I am enormously interested in my culture, my origins and I love African fashion.”   Maam, inspired by African fashion and textiles and the textiles of her current home, has created most of her clothing for the past six years.  She passionately declares: “Wax, Bogolan, Damfani, Kente and many others all inspire me!”

I asked Maam why she wraps her head and she says: “Well, I am very, very sensitive to cold weather and the head wrap warms well.”  She laughs as she says this and goes on to say: “more seriously, head wrapping is the hairstyle which suits me very well. I am linked to my ancestral roots and I am inspired by those bonds to wrap my hair.  It defines me as a woman, a proud Fulani woman!”

 Maam Ummil-Khayri has worn head wraps for the past 7 years since transitioning back to natural hair.  She said:  “ head wrapping was natural for me at first because the other hair styles did no suit me; I wanted more volume on my head”.  Again, laughing at her hilarious musings.  It naturally and simply fits her personality and her facial structure, therefore it appealed to her even more.

“My head wraps are a tribute” Maam says, “…they are but a wink of the past with a small personal touch. It is part of my current identity.”

That is a wonderful way to link your ancestral influences with your Fulani heritage and your current identity which is also influenced by your location (France).  As I am also an immigrant, I have noticed that many persons struggle with identity as they decide whether to assimilate or acculturate.  It is apparent that head wraps and the art of head wrapping is the basis for self-identity for many.

Ann-Marie: What is your favorite style of headwrap?

Mamm: “Generally, I make a bun with a black or brown head wrap made from wax fabric.  However, I do not have a strict preference per se; I wrap my head based on my feelings. I try to be innovative.”

 For those who may not know; Wax fabric is often used in traditional African attire including head wraps. The fabric itself is usually cotton or cotton blend and coated in wax. Hence its name. The complex, bold prints with unique shapes and tones makes the fabric unique. However, due to imitation, there are many types of wax fabric and the origins are debatable.

Ann-Marie:  WrapStar, do you prefer to wear a particular type of garment with your head wraps?

Maam:  “I wear head wraps with traditional dresses as well as Western attire.  Recently, I have created more elaborate head wraps and have found that the contrast with my attire displays a level of elegance. It makes the difference when I am in a suit for example.”

Ann-Marie:  What makes your style unique?

Maam: “My style is appropriate for me as it is my creation.  I begin by creating a small top or a tunic for example and as I wear my creation different ideas come to me. I may attach a piece here or there until I am completely satisfied with the outcome.  I think each of us personifies the head wraps according to its inspiration.”

 Ann-Marie:  What kind of challenges, if any, have you faced in regard to wrapping your hair?

Maam:  “Thankfully, I have not faced any real challenges because of my head wraps”.

 Ann-Marie:  Wonderful! So, tell us, what else are you involved with?

Maam: Presently, I am working on creating an association, “Anouket Timtimol lenyol”,  which aims to promote young talents and the Fulani culture but on a  larger scale to work on projects to aid in the field of  health, education of the children,  and protection of environment of the African continent.

Ann-Marie: What does Anouket, Timtimol lenyol mean?

Maam:  “Anouket” refers to the feeder Goddess, the mother of the Egyptian Gods who is the symbol of the fertility and the inundations.  “Timtimol lenyol” is Fulani and  means rainbow of the people.

 Ann-Marie: Maam, thank you for speaking with me today and allowing me to share your head wrap story with our audience. Are there any comments you would like to make which weren’t covered in our discussion?

Maam: It is a real pleasure to share this small bracket of my life with you WrapStar  with hopes to see you increasing and that you can reach your objectives. One love!

Ann-Marie: Thank you WrapStar!

It is interesting to learn how much head wrapping can influence and appeal to the artistic side of a person.  Though Maam’s interview confirms this, her pictures tell the wonderful story of what head wrapping means to her. I see her connection with her culture and the artistic expression through head wrapping. It is not just a piece of fabric tied around one’s head. As Maam said: “I think each of us personifies the head wraps according to its inspiration. “




Please join CaribDirect, Sandal Solé®’, and Headwraps & WrapStars as we congratulate this week’s feature, Maam Ummul-Khayri!

Wrap On WrapStars!


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