Jodie, Edwin, and Larry, for the London College of Fashion magazine “Pigeons and Peacocks” by Saga Sigurdardottir, 2011. The cloth speaks KiKongo, French, and Portuguese:
African wax print fabrics tell a story about global politics, culture, and economy that’s as colorful as the prints themselves. The short version of its history goes like this: the Dutch learned about batik from the Indonesians and imitated this process, hoping to factory-produce similar fabric at a cheaper price…[T]heir success would have run the local, traditional artisans out of business, but the Indonesians turned up their noses at the Dutch copies, preventing such a fate. Then, laden with unsold fabrics, Dutch ships found a market for their product in another portion of their trade route: the African “gold coast” (Ghana). The rest is Euro-African history. For over 150 years Dutch wax fabrics have not only reigned in the textile market of West Africa but their popularity quickly spread South and East, into Central Africa, including…DR Congo.
Yes, you heard right: Dutch wax cloth was produced by Europeans imitating Asians but sold to Africans—talk about a global marketplace. What makes these fabrics African, then, is not who produces them but how they are used and who gives them social value.
More Than Trees
How do trees solve so many problems?
check out this video for an insight into the importance of trees in Kenya.