Monday, November 16, 2009

African fabrics with a twist

As maybe some of you know, I LOVE fabrics. I have a hobby room in my house where I have hundreds, but I mean hundreds of meters of Vintage, Western, Asian & African fabrics. When I lived in the USA I started collecting them from all over the world, with the idea of starting a small business in children's clothing with vintage fabrics. Well... I am getting closer to that dream, since I am learning more to sew.

Today is my second attempt here in SA for sewing lessons. I mean I can sew the basic things, but I want to be better at it before I start selling.

I was already very interested in African fabrics and love the ShweShwe fabric and also love the West African fabrics, so when I met my friend Dunke who is from Nigeria she taught me more about the West African wax print that I like so much and now I am even more into it!!

What I like to do is give the African fabric a twist and make something with it that is not the usual, like these examples from Tokyo-based designer Serge Mouangue who was born in Cameroon. Look at his gorgeous website: Wafrica. It is such a cultural blend, I find that is just plain brilliant!! An African Kimono! How gorgeous is that?!

Not that I am going to do something that intricate, but you get the idea, a typical African fabric but then a girl's dress say in A-line, or a skirt with a mix of different fabrics. My dream is getting closer! I am working on it, yes, on a slow pace (because I am doing already so many other things ;-) but it will happen some day!!

However, to me it is more than just a beautiful fabric. It's the mix of cultures that are represented in these works of art. Saying out loud to the world that it is OK to mix and match. Giving our children the message that every culture is beautiful, worth exploring and above all excepting each other as they are.

So for me it goes deeper than just a beautiful fabric, and that is the same for Serge Mouangue; he is African, his wife Australian and he lives in Japan. As his children and our children, what do you tell them what they are? Dutch, Thai, American... it is a question hard to answer, so with giving them a sense of belonging through food, fabrics/clothing, festivals, cultural upbringing I hope that my girls grow up knowing who they are but more important embracing every culture they will experience by living as an expat child!

So today I am going to create an African apron, a simple design to start with but soon, if I practice in between lessons I can create a little bit more fun stuff!!

Watch out this site, it's coming!!

Have a Marvellous Monday, and tell me what are your hobbies, secret dreams you want to become a reality? Share it with me!!

Ciao Bella's!


Miss Footloose said...

Having lived in both Indonesia and Ghana, West Africa, I have a collection of fabrics from both places. The designs and colors are so gorgeous. I love the photos of the Japanese kimonos made with African prints!

I don't know what eventually I will do with them. I've given some away to creative friends.

One of my posts describes fabrics for sale in Makola Market in Accra, Ghana and has a great photo of a display of fabric on it (not mine!) It's here if you're interested:

Success with your business, and wishing you great creative inspiration!

Our House of Five said...

I love the fabrics too, and I also have a dream to start a kids clothing company and have fabric sitting around waiting...just need toimprove my skills. Anyway I did not see if you could order any of this beuatiful fabric via the internet???? Every time I visit your blog, I find myself so sad we did not get the chance to move!


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