2 years ago
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Ever since my former roommate Katie brought home a little stack of textiles from Cameroon, I've been curious about African wax prints. Turns out, they are traditionally printed right here in the rainy little Netherlands. Mmm Hmm. Apparently old-school Holland collected African soldiers to fight their colonial wars in Java and they came home wearing some Javanese wax-resist textiles. The way I understand it, these caught on and the Dutch saw a business opportunity. The company Vlisco has apparently been working on technology since 1846 and is reputable among well-to-do West African women who have a discerning eye for textiles. These fabrics are of high quality. Not only do I love these prints for some reason, I find it terribly amusing that a country full of northerly blonde whiteys who wear nothing other than tan knee-high boots and navy blue coats somehow got it together to print crazy, colorful and intricate wax-resist textiles inspired by Indonesia which they sell to an apparently loyal market in West Africa and have for over a hundred years. Not only this, but the fabrics are seen as definitively African. And I love them.
photos: Time, unknown, NRC Next, Vlisco