Creative Design: Professional

Mola Borealis

  • Adriana Gorea (University of Delaware)


Molas are decorative panels that are sewn into the Kuna women's blouses and they are Panama's most famous native handicraft, dating one hundred twenty-five years ago (Anderson, 1977). They are one of a kind, entirely hand made, and their designs range from nature and geometry to fantasy. I challenged myself to take the craft of molas and give it a new updated life in today's fashion arena. The concept behind the look had to be a fantasy, dream like vision of something in nature that maybe Panama people could never see in their lifetime, such as an aurora borealis. The mola technique panel has six layers of silk dupioni, overdyed and hand embellished. The chunky wool hand knit sweater was dyed skein by skein in multiple colors. The isolating contrast of the waist area suggests fragility and it is meant to overemphasize the embellished mola technique.The creative exploration of the slow hand making process of molas resulted into a serendipitous modern ensemble, challenging the current notions of aesthetics and unique and opening up sustainable alternatives to preserving the vanishing artisanal industry.

How to Cite:

Gorea, A., (2016) “Mola Borealis”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 73(1).

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Published on
11 Sep 2016
Peer Reviewed