Our love of textiles is what drew us into this business. First vintage textiles, with their mysterious origins and rarity were (and still are) a thrilling part of the design process. But always, starting back in art school, we've been fascinated by the endless array of fantastic colors and textures that can be found in both vintage and new textiles throughout the world. Whether we were traveling to fabric mills in Europe, Asia, or the Americas, we found time to peruse the local shops to see how people may be utilizing the region's textile offerings.
While not yet having the pleasure to visit the continent of Africa, we certainly have come to love and appreciate the stunning printed cottons from West and Central Africa known as African Wax Prints (or Dutch Wax Prints or Ankara). The patterns are typically quite bold and the colors are equally strong and vibrant. And the textiles themselves are sturdy and well-made, making them perfect for use within our bag collections.
Wax printing, whether by hand or by various machines, utilizes the technique of applying resin or wax in a pattern to a base fabric and then over-dying a color which will be resisted in the areas where the wax/resin was applied, leaving the base fabric undyed. The wax/resin is then washed out and the process repeated in other areas of the design with other colors until the entire pattern is complete.
A woman selling wax print fabrics in Togo (photo via: Wikipedia)