Costumes of madras

Fabric of culture symbolizes colorful tradition

The brightly colored shirts, skirts and headwraps worn during the traditional quadrille dance reflect a tapestry of West Indian tradition. You can always count on a vibrant show, when dancers appear in their costumes of madras.The multi colored fabric first appeared to replace gingham, used in the 1800s in the West Indies. Madras has been sewn into skirts and headwraps for women dancers, and also cut into shirts for their partners. Parade troupes soon began incorporating madras into some of their costumes too. The number of points in a women's madras headwrap would tell the audience, whether she was single, married, engaged or available for courting. Today madras is still seen in dancers and parade costumes, as well in many everyday clothes.And it's not unuusal to find bales of madras fabric on sale in the West Indies for other uses, including tablecloths, and napkins. A display of madras is widely considered an expression of cultural pride. ===== VIDEO: ===== St. Croix Education Complex Revival of Quadrille and madras costumes Courtesy Jumbie Man U.S. Virgin Islands.

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