Monday, June 15, 2015

Bandana crazy.

In a good way. The good ol' American red or blue bandana is now an icon of the working class US. Or what's left of it. When we see that familiar red or blue print with white, on a nice big cotton square we immediately think of....a working man and a working woman. We think of symbols for gangs, we think of cowboys and cowgirls, and we think of pirates that rob I.

this Disney pirate needs no introduction, right Capt. Sparrow! Notice that red silk sash.... a bandana from ancient and old India, the seaport of Bengal.

Since the red or blue handkerchief is so ubiquitous, at least one is probably owned by every American now living, and in the past, every American probably owned quite a few.
First made in India many hundreds of years ago,  as a piece of fabric with tie dye designs, it was called "Bandhani" meaning a style of Indian tie dyed fabric. The tiny little white designs were made by making teeeny tiny little pinches of fabric, dipping it in indigo blue dye or other colors, and then the released ties made a pattern of small white undyed "stars".
Back then, a tribal or cultural affiliation would be known by the color and design of the bandhani, and the scarf or band, the bandana.  From about 1700, bandanas spread from the local textiles of India, away from the port of Bengal  via sailors or pirates to farmers, workers, Rosie the Riveter, the working class, bikers, and fashionable people.

Here's Blair of the blog Atlantic-Pacific.

and Dust Bowl era photographer, Dorothea Lange.

Here's a vintage Levi's advertising display of a cowboy and his blue bandana.

and from a 2014 Milan fashion show, here is a spiffy Italian dude sporting a red bandana.

Here's Rick Jimenez and his headgear, the printed bandana.

They are in tons of colors now, not just red and blue. They most often still have white designs, but black is pretty common as an accent color too.
The names of makers you most likely will see are Elephant trunk up and trunk down, Tiger, Tuside, Hav A Hank,  and many unknown makers but most likely Paris Accessories that began in America in the early 20th century.
You will see more than flowers and paisley, dots and dashes since they can be printed with any message or face or name such as for politicians, business logos, and of course, Willie Nelson and  a few rock stars, too.
Since very little information is required by law to be printed on the bandana, it will only contain a country of origin, or fiber content, washability and maybe an RN number.

Bandanas, because of their history, their textile beauty can be framed like a painting and hung on the wall for a big blast of color and texture. This arrangement is from

funkomavintage is always crazy for bandanas. 
Here is a few in the Etsy shop.