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What is Mud Cloth?

What is Mud Cloth?

Mud cloth is the translation of the Malian term Bògòlanfini, or bogolan, which is a typically handmade African cotton fabric.  The development of this African fabric originated in Mali, a landlocked West African country known primarily for its gold production.   Mud cloth is unique, and named, because it is dyed with a type of mud that has been stored and fermented for many months to years.  The traditional process of producing mud cloth is fairly intensive. The process begins by involves pre-soaking the fabric in boiled leaves of the Anogeissus leiocarpa (n'gallama) tree, which turns the cloth yellow after drying.  After...

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What is Aso Oke?

What is Aso Oke?

Aso Oke, or Asoke, is an African cotton fabric that is Nigerian in origin.  This cloth was developed by the Yoruba people, a population of approximately 40 million that makes up about 20% of Nigeria's population. Aso Oke means 'top cloth' in the Yoruba language, and is typically worn for formal occasions (ceremonies, special occasions, etc.).   The production of Aso Oke has traditionally been a very manual one.  First, raw cotton is manually processed using a wooden loom and spindle until it has been sufficiently thinned.  From there, dirt is removed via hand-sorting from the spun cotton.  Lastly, the cotton...

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What is Shweshwe?

african fabric african inspired elevin melanin Shweshwe

What is Shweshwe?

Shweshwe (also spelled Seshoeshoe and Seshweshwe) is a cotton fabric common within the African continent, primarily South Africa and Lesotho.  Shweshwe is considered native to southern Africa, as it has been present since at least the mid-1600s, but the indigo dye and cloth was originally imported into a seaport along the Cape of Good Hope from India and Holland. The style of print for Shweshwe emerged in the 18th century in Czechoslovakia and Hungary by a man named Gustav Deutsch, who developed the block and discharge printing style.  It was around this time that the cloth began growing in popularity within the South African market. The name...

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What is Kente fabric?

african fabric african inspired elevin kente kente fabric

What is Kente fabric?

Kente fabric is a Ghanaian textile that originated during the time of the Ashanti empire, and native to the Akan people.  Although it's popularity has resulted in the cloth being worn more liberally by non-natives, it is traditionally viewed as sacred by the Akan and they typically worn in formal situations, having been worn primarily by kings in historical times.  Within the African continent, Kente is among the best known African fabrics. Kente cloth is primarily produced in regions that were historically within the Ashanti empire, such as Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, and Ntonso.  It is also produced along the Ivory Coast, having been adopted by people...

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What is Ankara fabric?

african fabric african inspired ankara ankara fabric ankara fashion elevin

What is Ankara fabric?

Ankara fabric is a patterned 100% cotton fabric commonly associated with african fashion apparel, such as dashikis, headwraps, and other african formalwear. The process to make ankara is originally influenced by Batik, an Indonesian (Javanese) method of dyeing cloth by using wax-resist techniques.  For Batik, wax is melted and then patterned across the blank cloth.  From there, the cloth is soaked in dye, which is prevented from covering the entire cloth by the wax.  If additional colors are required, the wax-and-soak process is repeated with new patterns. Ankara is different from Batik in that it is made through the dutch wax...

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