Orlando’s Obsessions: Tribal Patterns

Orlando’s Obsessions: Tribal Patterns

Orlando’s Obsessions: Tribal Patterns


On this week's "Orlando's Obsessions," our creative director goes native, focusing in on projects that have used tribal motifs.

Hi guys. When the topic of “tribal” patterns came up as a potential theme, I was a little squeamish. Patterns traditional to indigenous cultures from around the world are gorgeous, and I love the artistry and design behind them. However, I didn’t want to do a post like this without acknowledging that tribal/traditional patterns are a huge trend that many designers, myself included, need to be more thoughtful about discussing. Mainly, I want to avoid lumping all tribal patterns in together. Mud cloth from Mali and a rug based on designs by the Acoma tribe of Native Americans can both be described as “tribal,” but obviously they come from completely different cultures. And that is important to recognize.


I grew up in Yosemite National Park, which has a rich Native American heritage. The tribe indigenous to Yosemite is the Ahwahnechee, so growing up, many of my classmates were direct descendants of this tribe. With a strong culture, I was lucky enough to be raised in an area where they were respected and celebrated. One of our local celebs was Julia Parker, one of the most prolific Native American basket weavers in the country. In fact, my best friend’s mom even wrote a book about basket weaving. Please buy it. All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to my friend’s mom, who will then buy me something.


I guess the main point of all of this is that we owe a tremendous amount to the individuals and cultures that collectively created these traditional patterns. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll jump off my soapbox now! (Or hear me rant more in the slideshow!)

In this tour:
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