Walk In Beauty: A Celebration of Self with Diné/Navajo and African American Artist Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere

Just like the sun in her Southwest Navajo Nation home in Arizona, Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere is as warm as she is fierce. “I faced social and economic challenges as a dark-skinned Native American. This gave me the fuel I needed to build Ah-Shi Beauty,” she says of her luxury skincare and cosmetics brand—the first of its kind to be owned and operated by a Native American person. That fuel has become a fire—multiple businesses, a packed speaking schedule, and a non-stop mission to celebrate the diverse beauty of the world around her. 

Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere founded the first ever Native American-owned luxury skincare and cosmetics brand, Ah-Shi Beauty, with her storefront in the heart of Navajo Nation


Ahshi celebrates the beauty of her own blended heritage in her first collaboration with Eighth Generation. Our Walk In Beauty Limited Edition Throw Blanket fuses traditional Navajo designs with images from West African mud cloths, blending the beauty of both Ahsaki’s heritages in one tan and turquoise blanket.“The center of the blanket is my favorite Diné rug design—the Dazzling Diamond Eye,” says Ahsaki. “This complex design expresses the talent of Diné weavers. Spider Woman shared her skill to our people, and (...) to this day we have many Diné weavers carrying her teachings on. Our weavers carry our stories and teachings, and each design and tool they use has deeper meaning.”

While many of Eighth Generation’s supporters may be familiar with Diné/Navajo designs and symbolism, traditional West African designs are likely less familiar. Ahsaki shared the rich meaning behind the art with us. 

The border pattern of Walk In Beauty is from my favorite African print—the West African mud cloth or “bògòlanfini.” Traditional bògòlanfini are made of cotton fabrics dyed with fermented mud, and are believed to have the power to absorb pain and deflect anything negative or dangerous.

A closeup of the three lines on the border

The term “bògòlanfini” stems from three Bambara words: bogo, lan, and fini. Bogo translates to “earth” or “mud,” lan translates to “with,” and fini translates to “cloth.” The reason for the moniker is because the bògòlanfini process includes dyeing a piece of cotton fabric with fermented mud. 

The three lines symbolize the weaving spindle used to weave the cloth. The zig zag symbolizes good fortune or the Iguana's Elbow, which leads a thirsty hunter to water. The half diamond with a dot symbolizes the belt of warriors.”

Mud cloths are worn as protection as well as a badge of status. Hunters wear them, and women are wrapped in them immediately after childbirth as the cloths have protective qualities. 

In some places, the zig zag border design merges into the diamond eye design, visually merging the two different cultures

Blankets and scarves in our Gold Label line are made in our Seattle studio from start to finish. “These vibrant Native-made wool blankets tell a powerful story that expands on the outdated narratives around resilience and captures the idea of Native excellence. We hope each Gold Label blanket will carry that important message into people's homes,” says Louie Gong, Eighth Generation Founder, and CEO. 

Our limited-edition Gold Label blankets are true keepsakes, with an heirloom-quality weight and materials that will allow this blanket, with proper care, to be enjoyed for generations. You can read more about our Gold Label collection here, as well as shop all our Gold Label products here. Thank you for supporting Inspired Natives™, not “Native-inspired.” 

Walk In Beauty Limited Edition Throw Blanket will be available in limited quantities on our website at 10am PST on Monday, November 22, 2021, and in our Pike Place Market flagship store when we open on Friday, November 26, 2021.