Malian Mud Cloth-The Profound Piece

Mushmina’s creative director, Katie O’Neill fell under the mystical charm of Mali on a fateful cultural anthropology studies trip in 2004. Her heart has longed to return.

Tuareg women in indigo textiles, Mali 2004.

Leave it to Mushmina to push innovative and creative boundaries in creating a stunning collection of Malian Mudcloth textile bags; magically inspired by Katie’s beloved interpretation of the culture, traditions, textiles, and people of Mali.

It is only fitting that Mushmina is moving toward natural dyes and fabrics in their quest for introducing ethical, slow fashion to Morocco. Inevitably, the sisters turned towards Katie’s fascinating time in Mali for inspiration. This gorgeous collection of Mushmina vintage Mud Cloth Hobo Handbags are perfectly so; the cotton fabric organically crafted in West Africa is mindfully up-cycled by our fabulous team of Mushmina artisans in Morocco. Limited edition and each a true work of art.

Traditional mud cloth is a fascinatingly adaptable textile; gorgeously unusual in the process in which it is created and globally famous for its striking patterns and utility.

The word ‘mud cloth’ comes from the Malian language of Bambara, where ‘Bogolanfini’ is made up of three words-‘bogo’, meaning ‘earth’, ‘lan’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘fini’, meaning cloth; hence ‘mud cloth’.

The cloth is naturally dyed from leaves and tree bark, sundried and then meticulously painted with an organic fermented mud. Different resists are used to create the patterns. The fabric is then carefully washed and repeated several times to achieve the preferred darkness.



As are so many beautifully diverse African patterns, the mud cloth fabric is incredibly unique as each piece varies and each textile tells an enchanting story. Part of the gift of mud cloth is the intricacy of its purity; the textile is doubly complex and simple at one time. The detailed patterns and shapes are code for the people who made the textiles. The result is fabulously uncomplicated, yet sophisticated. This union of creativity, history and community give the fabric a timeless, versatile feel and a fascinatingly mysterious touch.



Mushmina’s Mudcloth Hobo Collection is a quintessential mix of Mali and Morocco. Extraordinarily versatile, chic, and rooted in traditional craft, Katie has designed these beauties with an exquisite Mushmina touch; linen linings, leather straps (some renditions have a handcrafted braided leather strap), and a leather triangle tassel -a reference to Tuareg design .

Natural, textured fabrics fit perfectly into the Mushmina mantra of sustainable, quality materials and beautiful artisan products. The story behind the stunning mud cloth and people of Mali is perhaps why the Mushmina Sisters resonate so much with this extraordinary collection.

By Tara Fraiture and the Mushmina team

Shop this limited edition collection here, Mushmina Mali Mudcloth Bags.

Circa 2004 /Katie’s scrapbook from Mali

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