04 February, 2018

"Sunday Runway - Shuka Cloth . . . "


I know we usually spend our Sundays together ooo-ing and ah-ing over the latest models to sashay down a fashion-week runway or delve into the latest images from the Highland Games in Scotland.  But, let travel a bit further this week.  All the way to a mystery.  All the way to Africa. 

'Shuka Cloth' has always been identified with the Maasai tribe of East Africa.  Known as fierce warriors - the Maasai tribe's style has always been unique.  Shuka cloth is know for its bright, clear colour (usually a searing, bright red) and vibrant patterns.  That pattern could easily be described as intersecting warp and weft stripes creating a grid pattern across the width of the textile.  Well, at a certain point - that description also could be used to identify classic highland tartans.  So . . . are they connected?

There's a bit of a controversy around this.  Some have noted that the traditional wearing of animal hides changed during the early 1900's - which could connect it with British colonist and missionaries from that time period. The Africa Inland Mission was first established in 1895, and until as late as 1909 - Kenya was its only operation.  And honestly, it certainly looks like the clan tartans from the highlands.

Like so much in the history of fashion - we might never know.  But, the colours and textiles are certainly inspirational.



Unknown said...

That is really fantastic. Love the colors. I can see that upholstered on a Game or Family Room with rustic wooden beams or in a large English cottage. It certainly makes a statement..lol Do you import it? It looks like it would be a strong fabric..Thanks for this one Scott.It does look like it may have a British or Scottish influence to it someplace back in history.

Merlin said...

That first photo reminded me, "so much," of one of the "Christmas taffeta" skirts my mother sewed for me back in the fifties....so very beautiful. franki

Notes From ABroad said...

I love the Masai ! I love watching them dance and the look of them and their whole "thing" ..
And I love your photos :)

I am just full of love today, aren't I ? :)

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