Whether you’re talking about clothing or jewelry, feathers in fashion are arguably one of the most universally acknowledged symbols of our global culture. From their incorporation into prehistoric Neanderthal fashion, to their symbolic and religious incorporation into our culture and fashion, feathers have a long symbolic relationship with humanity. And, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. Curious as to why feathers in fashion are such a cultural staple? Read on to learn more!
Feathers as Historic, Heavenly Heralds
Feathers in fashion has been a part of human history for centuries. It may seem obvious, but much of the symbology relating feathers to culture and fashion is rooted in the connection of feathers (and birds) to the sky and the notion of ascension, freedom, and truth. For example, in Egyptian mythology, the ostrich feather was the symbol associated with Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. In early Egyptian history, a chief priest would oversee the proceedings and award the “Feather of Ma’at” to the individual who won his case.
As you may have guessed, the association of feathers with godliness and truth was not unique to the Egyptians. Many Native American and Aboriginal tribes also used (and continue to use) feathers in their sacred ceremonies. For example, the Iroquois use feathers to give thanks in a ceremony called the Great Feather Dance, in which they thank their gods and goddesses for the bounty that sustained their tribes. During this dance, the Iroquois would don long feathered robes, weave feathers in their hair, and even tie them to their livestock as an act of gratitude and reverence. It was their way of honoring the great gods and goddesses and thanking them for providing for the tribe’s existence.
Because of their ability to travel the sky, birds have been considered by different cultures to be representatives of the heavens or the animal consorts of gods and goddesses. In Christianity, feathers represent the omnipresence of Angels and are symbols of prayer and strict faith. In ancient Christianity, the Italian Medici popularized an emblem of three feathers meant to represent the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
In addition to being symbols of heavenly ascension, thanks, and appreciation, feathers have also played a symbolic role in fertility ceremonies and prayers for different cultures. Many native tribes consider the act of attaching feathers to animals, plants, or even oneself, to be a ceremonial invitation for abundance and growth.
What does your feathered look mean to you?
As you can see, the feathers are powerful symbols for many different cultures and people. Here are some overarching feather meanings to keep in mind for your feathered look:
Feathers in Fashion Can Improve Your Look!
Whether you’re flying off to a festival or simply looking for a statement piece that speaks to your spirit, our handmade feather earrings are a sophisticated way to incorporate meaning into your next outfit. Shop for your look today!