August 19, 2023

For the Love of Stripes

For the Love of Stripes

Honestly, here at Mayamam Weavers, we are all about stripes! We have a whole collection of Mayamam Stripes which currently features 16 different colors. Although you will find an occasional solid among all our products, clearly it is stripes that dominate, whether for the kitchen, the dining room, scarves, men’s belts, baby toys, ties, or something for your pets!

So, recently we were wondering, where in the world did stripes come from?

First, in our western culture, we can see that stripes date back many years. Medieval art shows us that social outsiders wore stripes -- prisoners, ladies of the night, clowns, and butchers.

Stripes gained completely new meanings as they were incorporated into the flag of the newly independent colonies of the United States as well as the flag of the French revolution. The stripes pattern took off and was interpreted on walls, linens and furniture. Believe it or not, the popular cabana stripe showed up on the beach in clothing and umbrellas before it was brought into the home (or even fashion) environment.

We can see stripes on sailors’ shirts, presumably to make them easier to rescue should they fall overboard. Queen Victoria dressed her son in a sailor suit for a royal event and just like that, stripes became extremely fashionable. Later fashion designers such as Coco Chanel incorporated stripes into their fashion lines. Psychologists say that people who enjoy wearing stripes are “often good at multitasking, have a lot going on in their lives, and wear many hats.” Is that you?

Here at Mayamam Weavers, our stripes have an additional heritage, they have a Maya heritage. The Maya people began weaving the clothing that is still worn today on a backstrap loom after the Spanish invasion. Stripes were essential parts of their designs and were used like punctuation marks to separate the embroidered motifs. Stripes could also have their own identity symbolizing the furrows of their milpa, or corn fields. Their love of color as they wove naturally created the colorfully striped clothing and home textiles that have inspired so many of Mayamam Weavers products. 

So the next time you set the table with stripes or get dressed in stripes, remember what today may seem classic or even ordinary, smile to yourself as you remember stripes' scandalous beginnings.