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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Soulful-Roots or the Afro-Caribbean accessories and apparel

I finally launched Soulful-Roots this year, three years after the initial inspiration, and posted my first collection on Etsy, five months after opening the account, so I am proud to say, Yes! I did it and I’m loving it! Since my first piece I have not stopped, sketching designs, researching techniques, sourcing materials with pure excitement and eagerness to offer unique and beautiful items. Now I cannot understand why it took me so long to get started.


This year, I cut the cord to let my balloon spiral higher. In the end, more frightening than failure would be to come to the end of my life time never having done what I truly desired. To do something new is frightening, even more frightening when that something has no guarantees. 

You hope for success but fear that you may fail. You’re sparked by an idea, that spirals through your imagination and you watch it like a balloon floating higher, then too often fears begin to pull on its cord, weighing heavier and heavier until its grounded.

Soulful Adrinka Pillows Set 
My inspiration was born from Soulful-Roots. Soulful-Roots is a brand of handmade Afro-Caribbean accessories and apparel. I am inspired by both Jamaican and African cultures, being Jamaican and naturally of African descent. A lot of my designs make use of the wonderful fabrics that Africa has to offer such as 100% wax print cotton, Kente cloth and mudcloth, I simply cannot find any materials that are as comparably diverse, colourful, vibrant and rich as African fabrics, especially wax print fabrics.


Rasta Bobble Main
Working with African fabrics almost immediately guarantees a great product as the eyes instantly fall in love with the bashfully confident texture and colours, making even the simplest of designs really pop. My African fabrics are always sources directly from an African supplier. Ethically I believe that it is only right to ensure the integrity of my products and also credit the country of origin that I use genuine African fabrics and not imitations made in India or China.

 The second most common theme in my designs is Rastafarianism. Apart from the colours, described by Jamaican as red green and gold -we say gold not yellow, having positive significance, for me Rastarianism is a beautiful reminder of the need to appreciate and respect life, utilizing the naturalness of the earth just as Jah made it.  

I wanted to make Rastafarian designs to spread this sentiment as Bob Marley did across the world, many people will associate Rasta colours with reggae music, peace, humility, spiritual awakening and earthliness. My designs adhere to holding these sentiment whilst at the same time bringing out femininity and elegance. I consider my designs to be modern Rasta fashion as I try to explore designs that will be complementary at both formal and informal occasions.

5 African Wax Kente purses

My designs are also Afro-centric and as a black female designer it is difficult not to have a tint of Afro-centrism as every piece that I make has to be something that I love. My motto is , make every piece difficult for me to part with. If I want to keep it for myself I can be satisfied that I have made a perfect finished piece. Quality is vitally important, I want the customer to feel that they have received a luxurious product and find on examination that it is as beautiful as seen and described online.


Purple Rasta Slouchy 
Hence I go to lengths to ensure design perfection, neat and stylish finishes and best materials and cuts of fabric. I also ensure that all items order from Soulful-Roots are sent beautifully gift wrapped for a warm arrival into your hands. My first collection on Soulful-Roots has begun with African accessories, such as African wax fabric coin purses, afro-caribbean hair bobbles, African fabric earrings, hair pins and rings and winter has inspired me to begin to crochet beautifully vibrant slouchy beanies to counter act those winter greys that dim our mood.

Very soon I will be adding African wax print purses and handbags and I’m currently exploring the fashions of African tribes for a jewellery collection that will be launched in Spring. Soulful-Roots means, filling my soul, starting from my roots. This is why my designs are inspired by Jamaican and African cultures, as I am beginning from my roots.

Jamaican Slouchy 

Soulful-Roots is starting small but the dream is to be able to have enough customers to bring the brand back to Jamaica and give work to local women within my community. Not to mention being able to extend the product range as I source materials directly from the heart of the Caribbean. Soulful-Roots is a dream but this year I have begun working at making it joyfully greet my reality.

This article was originally written by Tanya Taylor: 
Creativity is her greatest joy, with ideas that flourish instantaneously. Taylor's challenge is how to make a piece of imagination a reality. She enjoys making pieces that not only complement a woman's beauty but bring positivity and joy. For this reason her materials and inspiration comes largely from Jamaican and African cultures which are very rich in colour and vibrants. Everything she  makes is of  highest quality, using the best materials and techniques for durability as well as design satisfaction. Taylor's motto is to make every piece difficult to part with, because she believes that if she loves what she has made, her customers will. Her online shop is available here