1 Jun 2020
Woman designs fitness durags and headscarfs to encourage black women to work out
BIND London is the first brand of its kind to cater for all hair types and textures. The culturally inclusive headwear range includes two bands, a head scarf, head wrap, hijab and durag. Created by Kayleigh Benoit, she hopes her new range of products will make sport and fitness more accessible for black women and women of colour. ‘I’m seven years into my fitness journey and two years into my natural hair journey,’ Kayleigh tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Pre-natural hair, I wore a weave because of the convenience of training hard and having my natural hair covered, I could get a sweat on and not care. ‘When I transitioned to natural hair it was much harder to maintain my hair and work out to my optimum – I felt my workouts were being compromised.’
According to Sport England, 40% of women say they are put off by exercise altogether because of fear of judgement, and Black and Asian women are the groups least likely to get enough physical activity every week.
A 2011 study found that 45% of black women avoid exercise because of their hair. ‘After conversations with many women of colour, they all felt the same way – in a position where they had to choose between hair and fitness,’ says Kayleigh.
‘At the time, in 2018, I was done with compromising and frustrated when shopping for headwear that there wasn’t anything for my hair type on the market.’ So, she created her own. Kayleigh selected designs that had a mix of part coverage to full coverage, depending on what women need and find comfortable. ‘I was inspired by culture and also high fashion designers,’ says Kayleigh. ‘I wanted to create a luxury brand that dominated a fitness and athleisure wardrobe.
‘I also wanted to show my consumers that we should be at the forefront, and not just seen as the “other”, who are either catered for last, or just not at all.’ To make her products a reality, Keyleigh is hoping to raise £10,000 using a Crowdfunder supported by Natwest Back Her Business – the scheme will grant Kayleigh £5000 if she can raise £5000 from a minimum of 100 supporters.
Kayleigh wanted to create a product that was lightweight and silky. Her scarves and bands are both sweat-wicking and odour absorbing. ‘I wanted something to be functional for my hair type but still look stylish,’ she says. ‘Workout attire should feel like armour, strap up and get ready to conquer the world with that one workout that is going to have a positive impact on your entire day.’
Kayleigh hopes that her designs will allow black women to feel confident getting sweaty and working out, and taking part in sport. She doesn’t want any woman to have to choose between fitness and their hair.
Picture courtesy of BIND London / Kayleigh Benoit