The founder of a night cap company has come under fire for “creating” a product that has existed for ages in the Black community.
Sarah Marantz Lindenberg, who is the director of marketing at Canadian label Pink Tartan, recently spoke with Fashion about how she conceptualized the product, which is called “NiteCap.”
“I was preparing for my wedding and, like a lot of brides, wanted everything to be perfect. My skin was breaking out and I have quite long hair […] A dermatologist recommended that I sleep with my hair pulled back. Another physician recommended I try silk scarves, and I had fun playing around with them but they didn’t stay on […] There were products on the market but none of them had a functional and fashionable solution for me—synthetic fabrics that I felt did more damage, or horrible colours that I felt silly going to sleep in.”
It has some of the same features as a silk pillowcase: prevents breakage and frizz, and preserves blowouts. https://t.co/3NZ3gp9JTR— FASHION Magazine (@FashionCanada) July 20, 2019
Marantz Lindenberg noted how her NiteCap idea has its roots in how (white) women styled their hair in the past:
“Many people have told me that their grandmothers wrapped their hair, and my aunt recently told me that my great-grandmother wrapped her rollers in toilet paper after it was all styled and set. That was a lot less glamorous than my product, but the practice has been around a long time.”
What Lindenberg didn’t point out is that the practice of wearing a bonnet or head wrap at night is specifically significant to the Black community and has political dimensions.
not a white lady pretending she invented sleep bonnets and selling them for $100 https://t.co/DYxZNILJCE— vampire workday (@imbobswaget) July 20, 2019
this is insanity pic.twitter.com/g3Dkul1khX
— vampire workday (@imbobswaget) July 20, 2019
“Representation matters, and for the younger black girl who may have issues with her hair, it shows that she is not alone,” writes Aria Hughes at The Undefeated: “The subtle nuance of wrapping our hair at night is what collectively brings women of color together.”
Twitter was more than happy to explain what’s so infuriating about Marantz Lindberg’s product.
(Un)believable, @fashionmagazine. Black women have been wearing their hair in bonnets for DECADES, and this woman’s product is written about as though it’s some sort of innovation.— Claire (@claireshegoes) July 20, 2019
Talking Sleep Rituals with NiteCap Founder Sarah Marantz https://t.co/sZWyiIpEF1
“(Un)believable, @fashionmagazine. Black women have been wearing their hair in bonnets for DECADES, and this woman’s product is written about as though it’s some sort of innovation,” one user explained.
That’s craaaaaazy pic.twitter.com/JRwRw0URqK
— aqua moon (@TiffanyIsBack) July 22, 2019
Other users expressed outrage that once again, a white woman is coopting black fashion and beauty for her own purposes without acknowledging her influences.
clearly you guys have no black people working for you as editors, proof checkers, fact verifiers, or black culture aficionados. B/c if y’all did they would’ve told you black people have been rocking the satin hair bonnets for DECADES!!!
— Etheena Hill (@Snow_Fyre82) July 21, 2019
The silk hair wrap you didn’t know your sleep routine needed pic.twitter.com/X18aHXEdQZ
— rosechocglam (@rosechocglam) July 20, 2019
Lindenberg also designs scrunchies. You can buy them on on her website for $32.
Or maybe take a pass?
— Selena y Los Dinos (@Saleen_MartinTV) July 21, 2019