While the "Seashore Vibe" is the hottest trend of this season, with every piece of accessory, jewellery and footwear all adorned with shells and pearls. Seashells are a vital part of human culture and geological processes.
Many people often remember their beach experience with a story which is closely related to their seashore finds and shell collection.
As a British African, whose early childhood was spent in Africa, I can't say that we frequented to the beach because most Africans are afraid of water. And my granny would often discourage us at the mention of anything water-related.
As a young child, I often thought of beachcombers, children like me, and collectors diving into the sea and discovering hidden gems and seashells.
My first encounter with shells was witnessing this commonly used molluscs used in traditional, religious ceremonies and practices. The cowries were used as a token or money offering to the Gods by traditional rulers.
Culturally people have collected shells for a very long time, all for a variety of purposes. Many cultures use shells in their traditional regalia and costumes, musical instruments and even for medicinal purposes.
The cowrie, also known as cowry, was used once as currency since the 13th century B.C in certain parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The earliest piece of jewellery worn by man was made out of seashells; this goes to show this trend, which dated back to many centuries, can never go out of style.
With fashionistas, influencers, and fashion editors, all diving deep and uncovering the gems hidden under the shores, the seashore trend is the shore thing this season.
It's so fascinating to me, how these magnificent sea gems which have evolved and transcended from time, are regenerated in many ways by various artists and designers. Each creative in their unique approach is interpreting this trend by giving it a new lease of life, somewhat like a rebirth.
Some of these pieces of jewellery are formed with mother of pearls fused with gemstones and fabricated metals and materials.
I love the laid back vibe and sensations I get from working with these oceanic finds that I have picked from washed-up shores while on my vacations. I adore working with the cowrie shell, mainly because of its powerful representation. The beautiful cowries shape is known to represent the female form. Its round top represents the pregnant woman's belly, hence the fertility symbolism. The split against the white part on the shell is similar to that of the black pupil, which is associated with driving away evil eyes and forces of darkness. That is why it is used in traditional clothes worn by the traditionalist for prosperity and destiny.
Recently, while on vacation in Nigeria, myself and family went to Oniru beach, in Lagos. I marvelled at my daughter and my niece as they excitedly together enjoyed collecting their very own treasures from the warm sandy beach.
As they collected small bags filled with various molluscs, we were all fascinated with them. Some shells were new to us; we had to research on each one thoroughly, to get acquainted with them.
I couldn't help but pick out a few new shells I will be using in my new collection. Some of the seashells have unique shapes, patterns and colours to them.
I'm so excited to create masterpieces out of these finds. I'll be using them in pieces of jewellery, footwear and accessories that will go on to tell its very own unique stories for many generations to come.