Essay

The Single Object At Home Edition: Yellow Lavalava, bought from a woman who called me sister

I have a few of these hand-dyed muslin lavalava brought back from visits to Samoa.

They’re stiff and quite rough to touch when first bought — but they soften beautifully with wear and washing. A cousin once told me that yellow was my Grandmother Nellie’s favourite colour, Nellie died before I was born and I have felt her loss my whole life. The lavalava is more than a garment or adornment, for me it’s also a physical connection to my ancestral heritage and sense of family. Throughout this lockdown period, this bright yellow bolt of cloth has been a source of inspiration, comfort and guidance.

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Emma Rogan is an awarded and recognised designer. Her work has been celebrated by NZ Best Awards, Communication Arts, The Webby Awards and Adobe. Emma’s passion for design extends to creative side-ventures - like opening Hello Beasty with her partner Stu Rogan in 2019 and founding the ‘100 Days Project’ in 2011. 

Yellow Lavalava, bought from a woman who called me sister, Apia, Samoa 2018.