Batik is a way of dying fabric by using wax to block out patterns. The trademark dots and whorls sing off the cloth in vibrant shades often inspired by the landscape in which they were made. Like tartan, the colours and design can signify rank and status, with some patterns forbidden to all but royalty. Batik garments are used in rituals of motherhood and childbirth in Indonesia. The fabric is a rich part of the culture in which it is made.
The bright colours and bold patterning of batik have recently enjoyed something of an uptick in popularity, especially after a UNESCO recognition for the fabric as a Masterpiece Of Oral And Intangible Heritage Of Humanity (nope, me neither) in 2009. Indonesians are encouraged to wear batik to work on a Friday, and worldwide the fashion-savvy are seeing the attraction of this bold and beautiful stuff.
As the weather warms, a blogger's thoughts turn to a change in wardrobe, and I'm considering a new pair of sneakers for the summer months. What luck for me, then, that skate brand Vans have launched a range of pumps using Ghanan batik. They've partnered up with Della, a fair trade label that works with local artisans to create unique prints. These clad the classic Vans kicks in a hot burst of Ghanan colour. Reds, blues, yellows and greens echo the colours of the area in which the prints are made, invoking the riverbanks and tree canopies of this lush and fertile land.
The money raised from this partnership will help Della's core work in the villages of the Volta region of Ghana, funding education, community and training projects. This capsule collection is going to go fast, so keep an eye open if you want to snag a pair.
Check out the full story on the Vans site: http://www.vans.co.uk/news/item/10484/vans-x-della-collaboration