African Fabrics : a rich textile heritage

Happy New Year to Everyone ! May you see glory and see all your dreams come true this year 2013.

To start this year, I would like to discuss something which is at the heart of Mayasi passion for African fashion: African fabrics.

Is Africa all about Wax?

When hearing about African fabrics, people generally think of wax, this very colorful batik fabrics very popular in Africa. Although originated from Java, this fabric once imported by the Dutch to Africa was to know an amazing success throughout the African continent, from Senegal to South Africa, shaping the way Africans dress themselves for ever.

Pictures of wax fabric by Vlisco

 Dress in Wax print by Vlisco
Dress in Wax print by Vlisco

The wax fabric/ Dutch wax/ ankara/ pagne ( it has so many names), has been talked about so often that we will not make of it the main focus of this blog.To know more about it, you can read this very good article on Beyond Victoriana’s Blog.

Discovering African textile heritage

Instead, we will try here a different exercise. Africa is huge, rich with cultures dating back so many millenniums that even the oldest griots (traditional story tellers)  lost count of past events, of the rises and falls of those huge African kingdoms and empires that once spread civilization round the world. But what we can still see, what those talented people left behind as their footprints, are these beautiful fabrics, filled with meaning and vitality. And these fabrics are not dead, they are still being made, still being used daily, but not so much heard off in western countries. Ingenious African fashion designers create new clothes with these fabrics.

Heard about the Ghanaian Kente fabric, or of the Malian Bogolan/mudcloth? These African fabrics are only the tip of the iceberg of a revolution that is going to shake are vision of African fabrics.

 Picture of Kente fabrics

Selection of kente cloths

Kente dress

Kente dress

Picture of Bogolan (Mud cloth)

Bogolan fabric
Skirt in Mud cloth

Solange Knowles in mud cloth jacket

So throughout the year we will be introducing you with African fabrics and designers from various origins who create clothes with them. Some of these items are on sale at Mayasi African Fashion store.

Again, Mayasi African Fashion wishes you a very Merry Merry New Year

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