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The African Influence of The Ecliptic Earrings

Another day, another drop! We were so excited about our Ecliptic Earring Collection that we have decided to share even more with you. And this time round most of our prints have been inspired by traditional African Wax Prints. In typical halfway there.. fashion, we believe it is important to talk more about the inspiration behind the pieces so this week we will be looking into these prints, their origins and what they mean to African culture. 

Where it all began...

First things first, a little background history lesson is needed. African wax prints actually came from the Netherlands in 1893, brought to the African Gold Coast. They grew as status symbols and, by the 1950s, female entrepreneurs brought the fabrics into Togo and gave them names. With Africa fighting for their independence in the 60s, wax prints started to be made locally but have now become more accessible to the rest of the world. The technique of producing such prints is called batik, in which designs are printed onto a cloth using wax before being dyed. This creates a cracking effect through the textile, however it is these imperfections are considered to be unique and beautiful.

The significance of colour

Over the years, wax prints have developed messages and symbols behind them, becoming a form of visual communication for African women. Everything from the name, to the shapes to the colours used hold a great deal of meaning and spirituality, differing depending on the tribes and sub-groups of the culture. We will dive into the colour meanings first, before getting into the specific prints!

The meanings behind the patterns

We found ourselves extremely inspired by, not only the colours and patterns displayed on these amazing earrings, but also the meanings behind them and how they hold such important messages - without saying a word! Here we are featuring a few from our collection, along with their original name and the meaning they have. 

KENTE - these patterns often hold religious, political and even financial significance. Each variant of the pattern indicates a different importance depending on the belief, special customs or occasion that it is worn at. The colours and patterns presented are used to tell a particular story for the wearer. 
MUDCLOTH (or bògòlanfini) - the technique behind the mudcloth pattern involves the use of fermented mud and originates from Mali’s Bamana culture. The fabric is believed to have ritual protection, and is often used to wrap a woman in after she becomes an adult or once she has given birth. It is believed that the cloth takes away evil forces during these times.
ROLLS ROYCEThis particular Ankara fabric design is also often known by names like Mgbolodi and Fleurs de Mariage. The pattern symbolises the beauty of happiness in a marriage and is often seen as the equivalent of a wedding bouquet. When worn, it is considered to bring success and wealth to the wearer and their family. It is a highly popular, traditional African Wax Print because of this meaning. 
Some designs tend to show symbols that hold a particular story behind them. When birds in flight are used, for example, it is money that is being represented. The symbol also comes with the warning that 'money has wings' and if you don't look after it, it may just fly away from you!
Appreciation and inspiration 
At halfway there.. we do our best to keep ourselves informed and inspired by other cultures and the significance that symbology and design holds to them. We are always excited to share our finds with you, not only the items but the stories behind them. We believe it is very important to respect the cultures we come into contact with and understand them on a well informed level. African wax and Ankara prints hold a great deal of meaning to Africa and the people there. We are happy to share in this message and hope you enjoy these earrings too. 
To shop our whole Ecliptic Earring collection click here.
Thank you for reading,
Rachel the Scorpio

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