Macrame fashion is ethical, sustainable, and trendy as hell! See some of our best picks, below
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Most of us have already embraced macrame fashion without even knowing it. Yep, that’s right: those sweet little friendship bracelets we wore as kids were made from the stuff!
It was big in the 70’s, too, when you could see Woodstock rock stars sporting the stuff. Think: Janis Joplin and her macrame vests, for example.
But macrame fashion actually has a much longer history than the hippy 70s. It is thought to have originated way back in ancient times, when the Babylonians and Assyrians were around.
And guess what? The first serious macramers were….men! Specifically, sailors, who had already mastered making nautical knots aboard their vessels and would channel their expertise into other items during their long excursions. Not only would they knot rope to make ladders or pulls, but they would create decorative pieces and sell them in harbors wherever they landed, spreading the art of macramé from Orient to Occident.
The earliest maritime explorers who handled this art are the Arabs. The Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula — which occurred in 711 to 788 — had the Umayyad people invade Spain by land and water. Aboard the vessels that traversed the Ebro river, we can trace the earliest examples of macramé made by sailors.
The Moors introduced their Arabic knot-tying technique to Spain, which was used until the 15th century, and spread also to France and Italy. This technique also arrived in the United Kingdom, around the late 17th century, and conquered royalty to the point that Queen Mary II taught her ladies-in-waiting how to macrame. Two centuries later this craft was so popular during the Victorian Era, that it could be found on curtains, table linens and bedspreads.
Of course, as mentioned, the modern craze for macrame exploded during the groovy Seventies! Voluminous and flowy shapes would fluctuate on bodies providing that boho and hippie look, typical of the era! This fun and stylish technique conquered couture as much as furniture design. The biggest fad of this decade was the macramé owl. The owl was a tribute to nature and an homage to the Woodsy Owl mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, raising ecological awareness and encouraging the masses to fight pollution.
Perhaps one reason macrame is coming back now is for its eco friendly traits – it’s usually made from hemp, jute or organic cotton. Furthermore, this ancient technique empowers artisans, because true macramé is not done with machines, but by hand.
Ready to check out the hottest trend for summer and beyond? Just look below for macrame fashion we love, from belts to bras.
Image below: FreePeople
We’re Loving This Macrame Fashion For Summer
The summer is the time to flaunt these beautiful macramé hoop earrings. Whether it’s at the beach, the countryside, a fancy dinner or even an office meeting, the gentle fringes provide grace and joviality to the wearer.
While chasing the waves or sunbathing on the beach, you’ll have heads turning while wearing this amazing macramé bikini. This is the result of an intricate hand-knotting of recycled materials by artisans in Bali. Not only will your silhouette benefit from this refined garment, but you’re also helping save the planet from textile waste!
Macramé dresses will never be out of style, especially in summer. I’m loving the fringed macrame hem on this sweet little skirt – it’s sassy, and since it’s made of organic cotton, it’s good for the planet, too! Macrame fashion also pairs well with another summer classic, that we can see below: the basket bag.
Bibi Marini’s chic, bang-on-trend belt has an exquisite macramé technique made by Colombian artisans, that will not go unnoticed. This black accessory is a classic that can be paired with a variety of garments, from dresses to tops, and can even be wrapped around a straw hat or used as a headband.
Women’s bags are basically an extension of their persona, since they carry inside a lady’s entire world. Marcia Kemp has created a beautiful, minimalist handbag that is spacious inside and looks magnificent on the outside, thanks to the artful macramé that is paired with the bamboo handles. This is bound to be a hit for the summer look!
The hotter seasons are ideal for sandals and flats made out of macramé. Carrie Forbes’ Rosa slides are made from handwoven strips that create the shape of a flower. This elegant item is comfortable for beachwear, but is also elegant enough to wear at a glamorous soirée!
Who said that only precious gems can make great bijoux? Macramé is the trendiest fad when it comes to summer jewellery. Lito’s Tu Es Partout bracelet mixes a macramé hand-cast with a rose gold and painted plaque. This good luck charm, is fashionable and easily adjustable to any size wrist.
Um, NO. Shawls are NOT just for old ladies anymore! If you feel chilly during the breezy summer nights, Bibi Marini’s wrap will provide a warm and refined embrace. It is completely hand-woven by skilled artisans and you will have all eyes on you, as the fringes sway with every move you make.
Lingerie made out of macramé is both sexy and sophisticated. Kiki de Montparnasse’s delicately macramed underwear provides a flexible fit and beautiful effect, as it easily adapts to any body-type with finesse and charm.
They say the devil is in the details, and a touch of macramé in any fashion piece gives a completely different twist to the item of clothing. Ethical brand Mother of Pearl’s denim Jamie jacket is made from certified organic cotton, and acquires a unique flair with its hippie-cowboy macramé tassels that sway from the sleeves.
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