From the Mountain to The Runway – Spreading The Basotho Blanket Worldwide

For over 100 years, the Basotho Heritage Blankets have been ubiquitous in parts of southern Africa, particularly in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Despite this long history, they have remained largely unknown and unavailable outside of the region until very recently. In Lesotho, the Basotho Heritage Blanket is a source of great cultural and sartorial significance. It is worn as an everyday item of status and function, while being an integral part of all important life events – from marriage, to childbirth, to the coronation of kings.

Recently, some of the world’s most legendary luxury designers have begun to create items and collection inspired by the Basotho Heritage Blankets. It began with Kim Jones' AW14 Louis Vuitton menswear collection which  featured a number of pieces heavily influenced by the Basotho Blanket wearing tradition:

 

Louis Vuitton 2012

Louis Vuitton 2012

Lesotho 2014

Lesotho 2014

Louis Vuitton - AW12 Menswear collection

Louis Vuitton - AW12 Menswear collection

Lesotho 2014

Lesotho 2014

The Basotho Heritage Blanket inspiration continued with Christopher Bailey's Burberry AW14 womenswear collection.

Burberry AW14 Collection

Burberry AW14 Collection

Seanamarena Collection - Ca 1930 - Lesotho

Seanamarena Collection - Ca 1930 - Lesotho

Burberry AW14 Collection

Burberry AW14 Collection

Motlatsi Design - Ca 2007 - Lesoth

Motlatsi Design - Ca 2007 - Lesoth

Louis Vuitton's recently launched Spring/Summer 2017 collection is perhaps the most blatantly derivative of one of the most prized blanket designs yet. In constant production since the 1930's, the Seanamarena design is strikingly similar to these looks from LV's recent show.

Although luxury designers at the very top of the game have been paying tribute to the Basotho Heritage Blanket wearing tradition through their own creations, the original blankets themselves, in constant production since the late 1800's, have proven almost impossible to obtain outside of South Africa and Lesotho. That is about to change with the launch of www.mountainkingdom.org, which will make the original Basotho Heritage Blanket designs, widel available worldwide for the very first time. Mountain Kingdom recently had its official launch at Base Miami during Art Basel, and its online boutique is now offering free shipping worldwide. The wesite is also a valuable source of information about the history of the blankets and the stories behind all of the individual designs. 

Perhaps best of all, you can now own one of the original blankets that inspired the likes of Louis Vuitton and Burberry at a fraction of the designer price.

Sean Shuter