I still have the notebook in which I brain-stormed possible names for my clothing business sixteen years ago! I was particularly interested in goddesses at that time and wrote several down, but the name Oshun resonated. When I found out more about her, she seemed perfect to name my brand after. She is a water goddess of love; a deity of the Yoruba people of West Africa and is associated with femininity, sensuality and the power of women. She has come into the news lately because there are rumours that Beyonce wore a dress in Lemonade which specifically represented her….
There has been no official confirmation yet, that Beyonce was channeling Oshun in her Lemonade video, but when you look at the iconology, it seems perfectly clear to me. Kamaria Roberts and Kenya Downs analyse the whole thing in detail in this article. Beyonce is obviously referring to her African heritage throughout, and the Oshun comparison goes further than wearing a goddess-style yellow dress. The rush of water; being wronged and hurt; having a destructive temper (smashing windows with a baseball bat!) all relate to stories and legends about Oshun.
She’s a healer and brings fertility and prosperity. She is especially worshipped in river towns as she’s a goddess of fresh water and the river of the same name. Her colour is yellow or ochre and her metals are gold or bronze. Her sacred animals are peacocks and vultures. I find ancient religions so fascinating and I’ve really enjoyed reading up about Oshun again.
I have been meaning to make a dress entitled ‘The Oshun Dress‘ for a while now, but I was so inspired when I saw this one by Roberto Cavalli, I thought now was the right time! If you aren’t familiar with Oshun clothing, I’ll tell you a little about it now: I sew clothes using reclaimed luxury fabrics. Every item is one-of-a-kind and created without patterns, by draping the fabrics on the mannequin and stitching them together like patchwork. I make a variety of alternative designs from steampunk to tribal fusion to post apocalyptic, but as we come into summer, it is the festival style bohemian clothing that proves the most popular.
Sometimes I start from scratch with small pieces of material, and sometimes, if there is a particularly pretty detail in the original garment, I will keep that section intact. For this mustard yellow Oshun dress, I began with an Indian chiffon kameez, that had such lovely beading at the neckline, I had to keep it. I used two pairs of salwar (Indian trousers) to cut up and use in the skirt part of the dress, along with some leftover pieces of silk I had, and a scarf, which was also used to form the off-the-shoulder frills. It is very satisfying to re-use fabric that may otherwise have gone to waste, and make something from it that I hope other people will think is beautiful. I think my Oshun dress would be perfect for a unique wedding dress, perhaps for a beach wedding; or to feel special at a fancy event.
It is my daughter, Rain wearing the Oshun dress in these pictures and she said she felt really confident in it. I’m biased, but I think that confidence shone through and it was some of the best modelling she’s done for me. I think she looks stunning! I hope whoever owns the Oshun dress will feel that same powerful feeling when they wear it.
I’d like all the owners of Oshun clothing to feel like a goddess in whatever item they’ve bought. I sell the clothes I make (and a few vintage pieces) through four different shops on Etsy: Oshun Creations, Oshun Occasions, Oshun Costumes and Oshun Kids. If you’d like to know more about my Oshun clothing brand, please take a look at the Oshun Website.
Do you have a dress or outfit that makes you feel ready to take on the world? I’d love to see pictures if you don’t mind sharing 🙂