“It’s a true story,” says Janaye Furman candidly. We’re taking a call from the model and Riot Picks founder from Studio City, California, where she’s working on her new collection, and explains the moment her mom gifted her her first Afro Picks . “Basically, once the holidays came around, my mom was cleaning out the garage,” recalls Furman. “She saw an afro, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s cool; it’s one of those black fists! I don’t have an afro.’ She said, ‘Wait, what? You don’t have black picks? Has it always been like this? ’” By then, Furman was in her early days 20 and signed exclusively with Louis Vuitton, where she made history by becoming the first woman to open her own Nicolas Ghesquière Spring 20 fashion show for the brand’s black women.
Soon, Furman is wearing this pick at Paris Fashion Week “People backstage would say, ‘You know you have something in your hair? ’ I’d say, ‘Of course I would,’” she laughs. “And then people on the street would be like, ‘That’s cool, what’s that? ’” She found herself pausing everywhere she went to explain what it meant. “I realized a lot of people didn’t understand Afros and what they meant,” Furman said. From the civil rights movement, ‘The more it happens, the more I realize people need to understand this. She wore it on purpose for her paparazzi photo shoot and the photographer started asking her where it was if she couldn’t see it.
“That’s why I made Riot Picks,” Furman created to represent the space’s share. “I think the fashion industry still looks at diversity in a very narrow way. We know we’re different colors, but if you break it down, there’s so much more involved — our rituals, our culture, our religion,” she said. “It can be a political statement, just Like the Civil Rights Movement, and that’s the history of African-American draft picks, actually. It has been around here for 6, years, dating back to Egypt where they were crafted as a status symbol for different groups in Africa. Talking to Furman, one of the signs was Adinkra, which she noticed meant “great” and incorporated into her first collection.