‘Walk With Me’ is a four-part video series highlighting unique voices from Amsterdam’s creative community in partnership with Dr. Martens Presents.
We talk to four emerging Amsterdam-based creatives in a series that empowers perspectives on cultural inclusivity, community building and self-love.
This episode features Faou Biera (she/her), Stylist, Afro hair artist and Multidisciplinary Creative.
Faou portrays afro hair artistry on another level. She uses her craft to inspire and educate people about African hairstyles and its history, highlighting that “culture is more than the aesthetic.”
Born in Burundi, Faou celebrates her heritage through every aspect of her work. The journey to self-acceptance was key as she embarked on her journey into hair and fashion.
“We’re in Amsterdam, Holland, where we have different standards of beauty than Burundi,” she says. “There was little to no representation for women like me when I was younger.
“I had no idea of the definition of beauty. I had no idea that beauty is something that’s personal, how you perceive yourself. It was a long journey to self-love.”
Around the age of 18 Faou started to hear about, and delve into, terms like cultural appropriation. This prompted her to research more about natural and protective hairstyles.
“It started with research into Burundi and the different tribes,” she explains. “One of the tribes is the Bantu people, a group who also speak Swahili. I started wearing Bantu knots, researching the meaning of cornrows, twists and other types of hairstyles.
“When I found out this new scope of information it felt like a new realm.”
This level of research was the starting point for a new platform – launching soon – called Afrovism, dedicated to sharing history, culture, art, film and more from across the African continent.
As a fashion stylist and hair educator, Faou acknowledges the path that’s been trodden before her and the importance of representation.
“I don’t think I would be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for other Black women. I wouldn’t have the confidence to be here or to do what I’m doing right now. I wouldn’t think that what I’m doing is beautiful or what I’m doing is worthy.”
“African history, African hair, African culture is not as discussed as European fashion history. For me, I felt the importance to research that for myself but also for others interested in this topic – and for the African creatives who come after me.”