The intricate, circular patterns found in mandalas can be found everywhere, from ancient architecture to adult colouring books. But did you know that there’s been a big surge in mandalas as fashion symbols in the past few months? For fashion-conscious ladies, there are many reasons to make mandalas a key part of your next new look.
What are mandalas?
The mandala, pronounced mon-dah-lah, is an ancient pattern made up of a square containing concentric circles. Sometimes, the circles are outside of the square, but usually, other shapes like swirls, petals and triangles combine within the circle to make an eyecatching, intricate pattern. Many people associate mandalas with the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
While it’s true that mandalas are often a strong feature of the architecture and iconography of these religions, they can also be found in many ancient civilizations and cultures. Similar designs have even been found as far back as the Celts (the dominant civilization in central and northern Europe from 750 BC to 12 BC). Mandalas have also been found in art by Native Americans and in Aboriginal art, so they’re truly a global phenomenon!
What is the meaning of the mandala?
While there’s room for a little personal interpretation, the mandala is basically a celebration of the cyclical nature of the universe, nature and spirituality. Simply put, the mandala represents wholeness, unity and harmony. The basic circle is thought to symbolise looking inwards to the ‘self’ and contemplating our place in the universe. Because humans and nature are constantly renewing, and because the shape of the circle is repeated everywhere in nature, from planets and eyes to fossils and snowflakes, the circle forms the main part of the design.
Why are mandalas popular now?
The current interest in mandalas can partly be attributed to the fact that fashion experts and designers are picking up on consumers’ interest in all things spiritual. Over the last few years, practices like yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which were once the domain of hippies and those pursuing alternative lifestyles, have firmly entered the mainstream. Now, many people recognise the value of meditation, forest bathing and activities that give a sense of ‘flow’ (that’s when you lose yourself in something very absorbing, like drawing or chanting).
Fashion, as we know, is constantly evolving and both mirrors and pre-empts social change. Consequently, symbols like mandalas have started to be reproduced everywhere from t-shirts and leggings to just about anything else that you can wear, accessorise with or decorate your home in.
Are mandalas easy to wear?
Although mandalas are available everywhere from tattoos to pendant jewellery, they’re arguably best suited to more casual outfits. Perhaps because of the time we’re living through, loungewear and clothes that are soft, comfortable and easy to wear are still a very strong trend. Joggers and loungewear, especially in contemporary pastels, are very well-suited to mandalas. The interesting patterns will elevate the more casual look and give your style a focal point. Ladies whose fashion sense already embraces the current trend for florals, and those who like the bohemian look, may be drawn to mandalas as a way of maximising their personal style.
Mandalas work well on t-shirts, vests and leggings and can be worn with jeans or denim. To create a festival look, you could try pairing them with straw hats, suede or leather cowboy boots and vintage denim (either high waisted or low fly) to keep up with current trends. Feathers are also still a popular trend, and since feathers are a feature of Native American art (think dreamcatchers), why not look out for vintage, mandala-like items in thrift shops for a truly unique look?
Footwear-wise, platform soles are going to be big news in 2022; as is the wild west. A few well-chosen Mandala accessories will go well with this look. Equally, the current trend for vintage sneakers is set to stay. T-shirts or sweatshirts with mandalas on the front, when paired with joggers and sneakers, will nail the casual, ‘slouchy’ look.
For jewellery featuring mandalas, try pairing your pieces with plain t-shirts and crisp, white blouses. Monochrome and clashing colours are strong trends for 2022. Both of these looks will help interesting and unusual jewellery to really pop.
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