Vernon Francois, the The eponymous collection is aimed at anything but straight hair, ideally the curlier the better. Got dreads, braids or frizz? Francois has a product for you, and he insists he is filling a gap in the styling market. "The whole reason why we're coming out with Vernon Francois hair products is because there's always been a lack of knowledge in the textured-hair care space," he explains. Born in Huddersfield in the north of England, Francois is a natural red-head who started playing with hair at an early age. "Doing hair was sort of my earliest memory," he recalls to Fashionista.com. "Those Sunday afternoons where you'd sit down with your family and everyone was preparing their hair for the week. My mum would be doing my hair; I would have been about eight or nine years old. And I wasn't particularly happy with the outcome. I'd be met with the words, 'If you don't like it, do it yourself.' "So I kind of taught myself how to braid and do locs and twists by using drapes or anything I could find in the house that had a fringe on it. I'd take the mop head into my bedroom!" Francois hasn't looked back since starting work at the age of 14, before training at a hair salon in Central London's Oxford Street. He consulted many current clients in preparation for his own line. "I really went back to basics and had a lot of conversations, just trying to understand where their frustrations were. For most of them, it was because they didn't have the knowledge, and more importantly, didn't have the confidence, when they were styling their own hair." His new products include shampoo, conditioner, sprays, and assorted treatments, plus what he describes as the first luxury product designed specifically to keep locs and braids looking their best. "Everything is versatile," he notes. "It's really important to know that the brand in its entirety is designed to manage textured hair, the full range of textures... It's not about ostracising anyone, and that's why it was really important to me to include braids and locs." He is also anxious to change the perception that textured hair is problematic. "Curly hair consumers don't know how to manage their own hair because they've always been told, 'Your hair's too coarse, your hair's thick, it doesn't do what it should do. It's frizzy, it's not as versatile,'" he laughs. "I'm really excited to start to actually engage with the consumer and let them know that it's OK to love your texture and be confident. Hopefully we'll start to build that confidence back into the curly hair consumer." The full line is available at Net-a-porter and Vernon's own site, vernonfrancois.com.
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