Photography Jules Renault celebrates the Durag
Photographyanalogue photography

Jules Renault celebrates the Durag

Giorgia Massari

We have already told the story of the durag here, but today we return to it with Wave Check, Jules Renault‘s analog photo series starring the model Annael. The homage to the durag is crystal clear. Not only because of its aesthetics, but especially because of its history. Depopulated globally in the 1970s, the durag originated during the era of slavery, when it was used by African slaves to protect their hair from adverse environmental conditions. In short, from a symbol of oppression and racial discrimination to a wildly popular accessory in the African American community and beyond. Today in fact, the durag is a trend ch even though it appropriates a very harsh culture and history, it becomes at the same time a symbol of cultural pride and belonging. Let’s learn more about its history together with Jules Renault and his shots.

If «today the durag has taken its place in American culture, becoming a must-have in contemporary fashion,» we owe it to «the likes of ASAP Rocky, Jay-Z, Tyler the Creator and so many others, who have worn it often or wear it constantly,» we explained in the article Brief History of the durag. But how did we get there?


The perception of the durag began to change during what is called the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. Black artists and intellectuals redeemed the image of this accessory until the durag gained considerable popularity in the 1990s, becoming a key element of American hip-hop culture. Despite its popularity, the durag was controversial because of its association with the gangsta figure and perceived so negatively in many institutions-including schools that banned wearing the durag, fearing it indicated gang affiliation. Even the NFL banned players from wearing it, followed by the NBA concerned about safety. These actions were seen as an attack on black players and their cultural symbols, attempting to reduce the influence of black culture in major sports leagues.

Jules Renault’s series starts with the saying wave check, a term rooted in hip-hop culture that refers to the moment when someone removes their durag to reveal their hairstyle. The photographer then has three bespoke durags created with very long “tails” that in his shots flutter in the air, acquiring a note of elegance and delicacy that stands in stark contrast to what is his common perception. The decision to dedicate a series to durag undoubtedly comes from his influences, which are strongly rooted in the hip-hop culture of the 1990s and icons such as director Hype Williams and photographers Chi Modu and Jonathan Mannion, who often included durag in their scenarios. In Jules Renault, model Annael is dressed by stylist Mathilde Fouquet, who pairs the durag with vintage Chanel jewelry and 1970s Courrèges and Lanvin pants, emphasizing the elegance and eternity of the durag.


Courtesy Jules Renault

Photographyanalogue photography
Written by Giorgia Massari
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