This past weekend in Dallas, Texas, I photographed the lovely Ugandan beauty Fatuma wearing a colorful ankara and gele at the 25th annual Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) convention.
An ankara is the colorful dress Fatuma is wearing and the gele (ghat-lay) is her headwrap.
Fatuma is a journalist so we both related to how awkward it felt for both of us to be the focus of a shoot or article since we’re usually the ones behind the scenes.
After we had a good laugh, I asked Fatuma to offer some advice on how to tie a gele pronounced “ghay-lay,” the African head wrap Fatuma is wearing. I’ve always been curious about the process. If you’re an African lady, you’ve at one point had to tie or been asked to tie a gele. Most brides hire a professional gele head wrapper or ask a friend.
She said the secret to the perfect gele is using a big wrapper so you can more easily manipulate it. You hold it and knot it in the back and then using a mirror, adjust the front and sides to your style. Sounds easy to me… maybe I’ll try it myself in preparation for the next African wedding attend.
A few weeks ago when I wrote this blog post on the bridesmaid who who a modern pink ankara at a traditional engagement session, I received many inquiries about where to get great ankaras and to share more ankara details, so here are the details on Fatuma’s style and attire.
- Ankara dress design: Fatuma
- Dressmaker: Faustina in Lowell, MA
- Neon pink patent leather stilettos: Rachel Zoe, 2013 Spring collection
- Purse: Aldo
- Earrings: Aldo
- MAC makeup by Fatuma