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 trend. 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 macrame from the Orient to the Occident.
And the earliest maritime explorers who handled this art were 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 macrame made by sailors.
The Moors introduced their Arabic knot-tying technique to Spain, which was widely 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. It 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 everything from curtains, table linens and bedspreads.
More Modern Macrame
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. For example? The biggest home decorating 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 cotton. Furthermore, this ancient technique empowers artisans, because true macrame 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 macrame fashion pieces. 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. Plus, the sunshine shade gives a brilliant pop of summery yellow.
Price: Around $48.00
Ethically made in Peru, this chic macrame sweater is made from pima cotton. The brand is called Ayni, which means ‘co-operation’ in the native language of the Inca, Quechua. Ayni is motivated by the belief that ethics and aesthetics can join hands channeling culture through design.
While chasing the waves or sunbathing on the beach, you’ll have heads turning if you’re wearing this amazing, ethical macrame 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.
Looking to show off your summer tan? 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! This type of macrame fashion also pairs well with another summer classic, that we can see below: the basket bag.
Macrame dresses will never be out of style, especially in summer. This cute dress is perfect for a last-minute getaway. The cotton makes it practically weightless, while the scalloped macrame and empire waistband give it an effortlessly feminine vibe. Hitting the beach? Wear this slip over your bikini to arrive in style.
Like the boho vibe of macrame fashion? Then you’ll love this blouse! The loose, 70s style vintage fit is defined by drawstring ties at the waist, featuring a delicate macrame trim along the hem. Pair this macrame fashion with some sandals and shorts to be summer ready!
Women’s bags are basically an extension of their persona, since they carry inside a woman’s entire world. Sensi Studio has created a beautiful handbag that’s spacious inside and looks magnificent on the outside, thanks to the macrame embellishments. This is bound to be a hit for the summer look!
Price: Around $200
Looking to invest in some summer pants? It doesn’t come cooler than these macramé-trimmed wide-leg pair. They’re made from lightweight silk with deep pockets and macrame trims along the hem of the relaxed legs. The fold-over panel at the waist lends a layered effect which works perfectly with a cropped top or tucked in vest.
Who said that only precious gems can make great bijoux? Macrame fashion is the trendiest fad when it comes to summer jewellery looks. Deepa Gurnani’s shell bracelets mix macrame with semi-precious stones. These shell and macrame bracelets come in a trio and are perfect for dressing up your casual wear.
Lingerie made out of macrame is both sexy and sophisticated. Kiki de Montparnasse’s delicately macrame 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 macrame 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.