Lafalaise Dion: The 'Queen Of Cowries' Whose Artistic Calling Is Inspired By African Spirituality

In present times, cowrie shells might be seen as a mere hair accessory to some people. However, in ancient Africa, they were not only a popular form of currency during the Arab Slave Trade routes in Africa, but also regarded as a significant symbol of wealth and prosperity in some African communities. To date, cowrie shells still symbolise different powerful themes in African mythology and are used as divine tools for traditional spiritual practices. This kind of significance is one of the things that drew Lafalaise Dion to cowrie shells; their relevance in African spirituality. 

Lafalaise Dion is a 28 year-old designer from Ivory Coast, commonly known as the 'Queen of Cowries'. She holds a degree in Journalism from the Institute of Science and Technology in Abidjan. Before becoming a designer, Dion worked in the fashion industry, including publications like Elle Magazine. 

Lafalaise Dion


Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as Essence, Grazia, Luxiders Magazine, Smode, The Formurist to name a few. 

Her creations comprise of pieces such as body accessories, headgears and masks sourced from shell merchants in the local markets of the Ivory Coast. 

Cowries as an artistic calling and a form of activism expression

She had an artistic awakening to create cowrie pieces after her trip to Ghana and has not looked back since. To Dion, cowries are a legacy left by her ancestors and a way to reconcile with African spirituality while celebrating and showcasing Africa's rich culture. 

In addition to reclaiming her culture, she also uses her creations as a form of activist expression to convey messages to fellow Africans to accept who they are and accept themselves and uphold their culture unapologetically. 

International collaboration

Working with Beyonce' has always been one of her wishes and she's among the African creatives featured on 'Black Is King'. 

Dion's brand is based in Ivory Coast's capital, Abidjan. Her work is also available in Los Angeles at the concept store Wervenice, as well as on  For atheistically appealing visuals rooted in celebrating her African heritage, checkout her instagram account here

Photo Credit: Lafalaise Dion | Instagram
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