This project is representative to experiences i’ve had maturing into black womanhood. each piece highlights specific moments or topics that resonate deeply from my perspective. These items are not for sale but any inquiries can be sent here. With love, NU-GROWTH.
Braids are a staple protective style amongst the black community. In the time of slavery, corn rows were used to relay messages as a signal to escape. One popular style was called “departes” which consisted of tight and closely braided hair to the scalp, with tied buns at the top of the head. Another popular style had curved braids representing the roads used to escape the plantations. In most cases, seeds and gold were kept inside the braids helping the slaves survive after their escape.
Black people have been using headscarves to protect their hair for centuries. According to BBC, “the durag can be traced back to the 19th-century Ethiopian soldiers.” In 1786, the Tignon law was enforced by the Louisiana governor to differentiate them from white women. Enslaved women would wear a Tignon to keep their hair up while they worked. To this day, headscarf’s including durags, are used to protect our hair and they serve as an accessory of pride from the rich story the cloth originates from.
Mud cloth is a traditional fabric made in Mali by the art of weaving together strips of fabric in squares, then stitched together. After constructing the cloth, the fabric is naturally dyed with leaves and branches then hand painted with intricate patterns and marks using mud collected from local ponds and streams. Inspired by the technique of constructing mud cloth, this vest was also woven with braiding hair then hand-stitched with blonde braids to create similar traditional patterns.
Indigo denim was often called “negro cloth” as it was woven, spun, and dyed by enslaved blacks. Denim is worn as a staple throughout many cultures and communities across America and the rest of the world, yet it all originated on the plantations of the American south.
This indigo is paired with inspiration from the staple pony tale style worn by many African American little girls, accessorized with ball hair ties - also known as “Bo-Bo’s” or “Bubbles”.
This garment honors the orisha (deity) Oshun of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. Oshun is associated with water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. Finger waves, a popular short style seen in the black community, is also cross referenced with the movement and drape of the silk fabric as well as the molded folds in the yellow leather of the bust.
This piece pays homage to the Afro-American flag, created in the 1920s. The flag symbolizes unity amongst the African diaspora with colors including green: the abundant and vibrant wealth of Africa, red: the blood uniting all people of African ancestry, and black: for the people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation state, is affirmed by existence of the flag.
Gold chains are draped across the back of the jacket referencing the chains used to restrain the ankles of slaves. In addition, gold chains are popular in black hip-hop culture used to express luxury, attitude and being oneself.