African Textiles

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Today Garance Dore posted this photo on her street style photography blog. I’ve been seeing gorgeous bright patterns like this a lot recently, and I’m really feeling it.

For example, Suno is a clothing line by Max Osterwies made out of vintage Kenyan kangas, which are big rectangular pieces of cloth printed with bright designs and a sometimes cryptic Swahili proverb or phrase. In Kenya and Tanzania they are used as all-purpose sarongs, bundles, headwraps and baby backpacks, but Osterwies turns them into tailored jackets, skirts, dresses, and even bikinis. Kenya used to have an active garments and textiles industry, which has all but disappeared today, so it is especially nice to know that these clothes were made by local tailors and artisans for a good wage.

lesenfantssauvages

Similarly, I was at Renegade Handmade in Wicker Park awhile ago and saw some amazing skirts and bags made of vintage African textiles by the Canadian artist Les Enfants Sauvages. I also saw her booth at the Renegade Craft Fair in September. Check out her etsy shop for cool, modern shapes made of colorful African and Indian textiles like old saris.

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3 Responses to “African Textiles”

  1. robinesque Says:

    Wow!! Now that is my kind of color and prints!!! Gorgeous designs — thanks for highlighting it!

  2. Style Spy Says:

    I have some Kenyan friend I’ve been pestering to get me some kangas for ages now. I have one beautiful kikoy that they brought back for me — it’s the same idea but niceer fabric and usually striped rather than patterned. The colors are glorious.

    http://closetaltar.blogspot.com/

  3. noemi Says:

    great stuff.. african textiles are so fun to see..

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