Rich in Culture: Indigo
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
If you've ever been curious to trace back your families lineage, many of you, like us, may find all roads lead back to the Carolina's. Yet for many of us; the journey stops there.
We wanted to learn more about our Southern roots; and dove deeper into our ties to INDIGO.
To make anything blue, you needed indigo. Indigo, most of which flourishes in tropical areas like India, Africa, and Latin America was South Carolina’s second most valuable export, behind rice. When we speak of cultural relevance, though many credit 16 yr old Eliza Pinckney for being a "agricultural hero". Historians would note her as the first to successfully cultivate indigo, while managing her fathers Plantation. She would later become the first woman inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
Here is some historical context to consider. Her father, George Lucas, after two failed attempts, sent a black indigo maker who had worked in the French West Indies to South Carolina, Wappoo Plantation. Where he successfully processed Eliza's next crop of indigo into dye. His name is unknown. What we do know, it was the expertise, and brutal labor, of Enslaved Africans, that directly contributed to the wealth of South Carolina. "Enslaved Africans carried the knowledge of indigo cultivation to the United States, and in the 1700s, the profits from indigo outpaced those of sugar and cotton."
Did you know? The original American flag was made from indigo textile. When you think of American culture you are reminded how deeply rooted it is in African Culture; and how often that history is stolen from us. There is a rich history of Indigo, from the lowcountry fields of South Carolina, to the Kofar Mata dye pits of Kano, Nigeria. This collection pays homage to both our Southern and African roots.
My mother, born in the 1940's, would share stories of her working cotton fields in Mississippi. This revelation, initially shocked me, as a young woman learning about slavery in school. To realize the practice of picking cotton was still very much prevalent in the south, even though slavery had ended. That realization early on, sparked my curiosity to learn more than what was told in the history books. Going even deeper, how much design and fashion were rooted in African Culture. "The American fashion community was born from the inception of indigo slave plantations in America. Indigo was the hidden commodity of the slave trade before cotton". What we now know as denim; was then known as “Negro Cloth” or "Slave Cloth”. “This cloth was sewn into simple but durable work wear by slaves themselves and was unfit for anyone else to wear except for slaves.”
Our collection not only aims to bring a cultural aesthetic "to the table", but we want to inspire you to indulge in the historical relevance behind them. There is so much to learn, and unlearn about our history. So many innovations that should be accredited to our communities, and let's not even begin to speak on the wealth that was built from those innovations, expertise, and labor.
I hope that you are inspired to learn more about your rich culture. Our Culture and Design Blog will be a space for us to share our inspiration behind the design, and much more! If you enjoyed; please share!
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