We believe in the value of collaboration, that great things are done by a series of small things brought together. Where there is a shared passion, the potential for collaboration is far more valuable than competition – and it is our mission to manifest this in our everyday. Together with our friends at The Wrap Life, a Brooklyn-based brand creating head wraps from the rich and bold textiles of Africa, we created a selection of head wraps.
We chose 3 Adinkra symbols from West Africa and designed a head wrap for each. The range is a collection that represents divine protection, resilience, and independence and its creation benefits artisans in India and Little Hills, a non-profit in Rwanda. Adrinka calls to inspiration the legendary king of the Gyaman, Nani kofi Adinkra, who wore clothes with colorful patterns made up of symbols with special meanings. Adinkra cloths were also traditionally only worn by royalty and spiritual leaders.
In our reinterpretation and continued narrative, the symbols Fawohodie, Nsoromma, and Mmere Dane were hand carved onto slabs of rosewood then block printed onto a lightweight cotton with vibrant azo-free dyes.
From sketch to block, natural daylight governs the foundational step of the tracing process. A freehand drawing of the design is drawn out on tracing paper, before transferring it to a slab of rosewood covered in lime paste. A rough outline of the design is punched out onto the block through hammer and chisel. From there, the design of the block is carved out – a process that takes up to 5 days depending on its complexity. To translate a motif from digital to craft is to understand that industrial perfection does not exist in craft – and more importantly, it should not. In the inconsistency of each piece created or appreciated, we’ve embraced the philosophy of wabi sabi and the reality of transience and imperfection.
What is the inspiration behind The Wrap Life? What did the journey look like to get you where you are now?
For me the inspiration was all about access and the ability to shop a curated collection. I think I’m beyond the days of hunting and searching for things in stores, I get easily overwhelmed. I want everything in one curated space so I can dive in, not sift. I was also inspired by the general feeling that’s induced when wearing a wrap. It’s so transformative, it can be slightly addictive. You gotta wear one to understand what I’m talking about. It’s instant regality, instant framing of your face, and you get to wear gorgeous fabrics. Many of my customers have more than 30 head wraps in their collection.
You mentioned that wearing wraps for you is more about cultural expression than utility, can you share more about that?
I wear head wraps for several reasons. For the most part, I love the ability to express myself and quickly change it up. I also like the building that happens when you’re styling. You can almost call it a form of meditation. You’re in a zone, feeling more than you are thinking. Head wraps are perfect for utility, too. If you need a cover up for a bad hair day, a wrap serves its purpose well. I went to dinner with a friend last week. She looked so gorgeous and regal in her wrap. You’d never know she was deep conditioning her hair under the wrap. I love that.
What was the experience of the collaboration like for you? How has it changed your perspective of craft or sustainability?
The process was super chill but incredibly productive. The Matter Prints team was generous in almost every way. The design process was very intuitive, feedback was understood and implemented, and I always got updates on what was happening without having to check in. I wish I could work this way with other teams. I learned so much about being intentional and telling the product’s story from ideation to online delivery.
Explore the range on The Wrap Life.