Weekly Newsletter Oct 22, 2019

Posted by Sandra Zhao on

From Dakar with <3

Way back in April you may remember that we spent some time in Dakar with Cheikhouna, a master dyer, and his family to develop hand-dyed textiles using traditional stitch resist and wax resist techniques. We couldn't be prouder to share with you the incredible work of this team! 

Stitch-resist dyeing

For our Clean Slate and Cascade prints, Cheikhouna used a stitch resist technique called sitiba, where the design is hand-stitched into the fabric before dyeing. As you can guess, this is a super time-consuming practice, but the results are stunning!

For this particular print, the stitching is especially complex because the fabric is sewn into a twisting column. Sitiba is rarely produced anymore not only because of the amount of time it takes, but because of the complexity of the technique. Cheihknouna is probably one of the last dyers in Dakar who practices this technique, and while he trains apprentices, he stitched every piece of fabric for our production himself.

Wax-resist dyeing

You may be familiar with this technique already, since this is also known as batik! We've used this technique for our hand-dyed prints in Ghana, as well! As a quick refresher -- hot wax is applied with a stamp to fabric, which is dipped in a dye bath, and then later heated to remove the wax.

You can see that this print has two colors, black and blue, which require two rounds of dyeing. First the wax is applied and the fabric is soaked with black dye, and then the wax is removed and the fabric is then soaked with blue dye, which fills in the spaces that the wax left!


WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Étoile de Dakar

Youssou N'Dour is a LEGEND, and if you listen to this album, you'll know why. His music is blasting out of every taxi and Ndiaga Ndiaye (painted bus) on the streets of Dakar. Warning: spontaneous dancing may occur while listening to this album!

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