The Bandana and Miss Lou

Photo: JIS Photographer

September 07 is the birthday of the late Louise Bennett-Coverley, known to Jamaicans as “Miss Lou”. The folklorist, poet, and actress was well-known for her poems in Jamaican patois and her choice of fabric for her costumes – the ‘bandana’.

The ‘bandana’– a plaid cotton material with main colours of red, yellow and white – is an undeniable part of Jamaican heritage. It is regarded as the unofficial national fabric.

It was originally used to make the head tie and apron of female Jamaican farmers and vendors in the markets.

Today, the fabric is used to make costumes for national celebrations, such as Emancipation and Independence, particularly during performances of Jamaican poems, folk songs and dances.

For such occasions, costumed groups wear skirts, shirts or entire outfits made of the fabric in true “Miss Lou style”.

JIS Social