Released Spring 2022
With this collection, we are going under the sea. However, don’t expect the cheerful song and dance like Sebastien from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Mermaids are as mysterious as they are alluring. Madison has been particularly drawn to mermaids since she was young and has been working on the research and design of this collection for almost a year!
Mermaids represent the dichotomy of light and dark. They captivate our imaginations by being desirable yet dangerous. Some say they are meant to be an embodiment of the spectrum of female emotions; ranging from playfulness to dangerous rage (is that the patriarchy we smell??). Through folklore and myth, the mermaid narrative has been crafted to show that the beauty of a woman can be weaponized to harm men. Many stories depict a mermaid using her beauty and song to allure men to dive into the depths of the sea. This dive ends in demise or salvation. This metaphor shows how the mermaid beckons one of our most human traits: to dive deep into the mystery of our unlived lives. Stories have tried to paint this dive into our innermost selves with fear and demise; but don’t we know by now that dancing with the darkness is how to set ourselves free?
Through this collection we examine all aspects of the dichotomy that mermaids embody. We weave folklore, western mainstream fairytales, anishinaabe clan stories, and symbolism to look at the full spectrum of embodiment that the mermaid has come to represent.
Science tells us that all living things were born from the sea. Which is why the ocean is sometimes also referred to as the “womb of the world” suggesting that the sea is the mother to all living beings. But before modern science, our ancestors knew there was a magic about water that makes it essential to life on earth. In myths and legends from all around the world, water is attributed with mystical and divine powers. People worshiped gods and goddesses of the sea, including the merfolk in the legends and fairytales we know today.
We can look to the mermaid for guidance in how to be in connection with the element of water and the beings that reside in it. Being so closely tied to the element of water, mermaids symbolize the source of life. Mermaids lure us into the water realm, mirroring our emotions, challenging us to look deep inside ourselves beyond the surface. Her wisdom can also teach us to cherish water and look deeper into the meaning and medicine water brings us throughout the cycles of our lives.
The moon has long had an aura of mystery and magic about it. It is tied to the ebbs and flows of the tide, as well as the ever-changing cycle of women’s bodies. The moon has great influence on the sea, so it is no surprise that the mermaid embodies qualities often associated with the moon and the tides.
In the colour story of this pair we wanted to bring emphasis to the dichotomy of dark and light. The moon goes through its cycles of shining bright in our sky, and times when it is a faint shadow. The mermaid embodies this concept in a more intricate way. Mermaids mirror the complexity of women's emotions, ranging from playful to stormy, a parallel to the ebbs and flows that happen through a woman's moon cycle. Each moment of this cycle, within the moon and within the woman, is sacred and powerful.
The sea has long been connected with emotions, intuition and the subconscious. Deep, dark and mysterious, water can hold secrets we may never discover. It can also be nurturing and healing. The ocean is known as home to mermaids and it is only fitting that the mermaid echos the water in which they live. Mermaids are the dichotomy of light and dark, they can be both alluring and dangerous. In folklore, a mermaid’s song and voice was used to lure the listener, often to the point of setting aside safety and causing the listener to plunge into the waves. This leap could bring doom or it could bring salvation. Sometimes it brought both. The mermaid's song lures us to the unknown, to the impassioned world of change and possibility. Mermaids continue to be a part of our imagination because they represent a primal human need; to dive deep into the mystery of our unlived life.
This warrior design calls us to celebrate and honor the inner warrior in all of us. Embodying this state can mean being vulnerable and plunging into the unknown, trusting whatever the outcome may be. As the mermaid reminds us, the deep and mysterious can be cleansing and healing.
Water’s changeable nature, fertility, nourishment and undulating sensual rhythms are why it is often given a feminine face. Water’s duality reflects that of a mermaid in it’s representation of the divine feminine and nurturer that water represents to all life.
In folklore and fairytales, mermaids are often found with a comb or a mirror. While your first thought may be that this is an object of vanity, its meaning goes much deeper than that. Symbolically, the mirror represents a portal between the conscious and unconscious worlds. The comb is urging us to consider both sides of consciousness in order to see more clearly. In today’s world this could take the shape of UNlearning many of the collective programmings around equality, worthiness, and value that have taken over our minds and created our realities. Can you dive into your subconscious and face the biases and beliefs that no longer serve you? Can you add conscious thought to reprogram those beliefs into something that aligns with your heart?
The act of combing one's hair has been portrayed as vain in many cases. But the true meaning of the act is one of purification leading to transcendence. Yet another patriarchal reframe created to undermine the power of women.
Disney is one of the most powerful narrative machines in North America. In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, there were some surprisingly progressive depictions for 1989 amid the Ragean era - but sadly tradition and patriarchy still were the dominant message.
King Triton represents the dominant culture and social order. He is depicted as being over protective - but really he is repressive and ruled by fear of the unknown. His oppression forces Ariel to create a hidden place with all her dreams and treasures (the cave) which represents the inner psyche we have as youth to dream beyond circumstance. But not surprisingly, the King destroys it once he finds it.
On Ariel’s quest for love she is instructed to give up her voice (her soul and true self) in order to find love (in 3 days! Which is a nod to women’s limited fertility window). Ursula tells her she doesn’t need her voice, she just needs her body language - great message for young children. (eye roll) Although Ursuala is a “woman scorned”, she also represents gender fluidity and sexuality. Her purpose is to represent that which is not accepted in society.
Sadly in the end, King Triton kills Ursula (with a phallic object noless) and Ariel chooses the traditional life of young marriage to a man much like her father.
What’s interesting about the use of the mermaid is that the sea represents the subconscious. All of these suppressive forces & yearnings to breakfree are happening in our subconscious. Yet, in the case of Ariel she chooses to ignore the call of the wild and Ursula is left to drown in the depths of the subconscious.
Not quite a fairytale afterall.
As the sea nurtures people from all walks of life, mermaids appear in past myths and folklore from around the world. Their stories are as colourful as the people who tell them. Long before European settlers came to the new world, bringing their tales of mermaids with them, the indigenous folk across turtle island already knew about the fish people who lived in their oceans, rivers and lakes. In Inuit mythology, Sedna is the goddess of the sea and mother of marine animals, her sacrifice brought an abundance of food to her people. In Anishinaabe folklore, the Nibiianaabe are a race of water spirits and these creatures are used as a clan symbol in some Ojibwe communities.
Once again, we give thanks to Alyssa Bardy for the amazing photography of us modelling the product. And once again (just like the Enchanted Forest shoot) we were absolutely freezing and Alyssa had to edit out some goose bumps! haha