Introducing Cordings’ New Collection of Hand Beaded Leather Belts: A Celebration of Maasai Craftsmanship

Monday, 24 June 2024

Blending traditional craftmanship with contemporary design, we at Cordings are very proud to introduce an exquisite selection of ethically hand-beaded leather belts to our 2024 collection. These unique accessories are produced in Kenya by a collective of talented Maasai women. For the Maasai, beadwork is more than just an art form; it is a vital part of their cultural heritage. Each piece is meticulously crafted, reflecting the skill and dedication passed down through generations. The beadwork holds great cultural significance, which is embodied in each of these beautifully crafted belts.

 A Timeless Tradition of Beadwork

Photograph taken by Victoria Day-Wilson

The Maasai people have been creating intricate beaded jewellery long before their first contact with Europeans. This art form remains a vital part of Maasai culture, with every woman spending weeks learning the delicate craft. Beadwork is not only a means of artistic expression but also a daily social activity. Maasai women gather to work on their beaded creations, engaging in lively conversation and song as they meticulously add each bead. A single belt can take between 1.5 to 2 days to complete, reflecting the dedication and skill involved in this traditional practice.

Photograph taken by Victoria Day-Wilson
Photograph taken by Victoria Day-Wilson

Symbolic Colours of the Maasai

The colours used in Maasai beadwork are more than just decorative; they hold deep cultural significance. Each hue represents different aspects of Maasai life and values:

  • Red: Bravery and unity
  • Yellow/Orange: Hospitality
  • White: Peace, purity, and health
  • Blue: Energy and the sky
  • Green: Health and land
  • Black: The people and their struggles
A selection of 6 different coloured Cordings beaded belts.  One navy, and blue, one red, blue and white, one green and blue, one blue and white and another multicoloured.

In Maasai culture, the richness and variety of colours worn signify wealth and respect. Our new collection draws inspiration from these traditional patterns, infusing them with Cordings’ distinctive style to create belts that are both meaningful and fashionable.

We have developed a set of exclusive designs for this collection, marrying the vibrant aesthetics of traditional Kenyan patterns with a modern twist. Each belt is a piece of wearable art, perfect for adding a touch of elegance and cultural richness to any outfit.

Empowering Maasai Women

In today’s rapidly changing Africa, beading has become a significant source of income for the Maasai. This craft is especially crucial for widowed or single women, providing them with the means to support themselves and their families. By purchasing one of our hand-beaded belts, you are directly contributing to the livelihoods of these artisans, helping them sustain their traditions and improve their quality of life.

These belts are also a testament to the commitment to sustainability and quality. The leather is sourced from Kenyan cows, ensuring it is both durable and eco-friendly. It is tanned locally, preserving traditional methods and supporting the local economy. The buckles are crafted from recycled brass in the Ngong Hills, highlighting our dedication to environmentally conscious production practices.

Photograph taken by Victoria Day-Wilson

A Story Behind Each Bead

We are thrilled to bring you this remarkable collection of hand-beaded leather belts, celebrating the artistry and heritage of the Maasai people. These belts are more than just accessories; they are a bridge between cultures, a symbol of empowerment, and a testament to the beauty of sustainable craftsmanship. By wearing a Cordings belt, you are not only making a style statement but also supporting a community and preserving a precious tradition.

Explore our new collection today and become a part of the story behind each bead.