From Dakar with <3

Since we first met master dyer Cheikhouna in Dakar 2019, we've been lucky enough to collaborate on several gorgeous stitch resist and stamped wax textile collections together, and we couldn't be more thrilled to share this collection with you! Each collection we’ve done together has taken twelve months to produce, making these fabrics all the more special.  

Cheihkouna is one of the last dyers in Dakar who practices this centuries-old technique, and while he does train apprentices, he personally stitches every piece of fabric for our production himself. We’ve worked with Cheikhouna to produce textiles using both stitch-resist and wax-stamp techniques, and we’d love to share a bit more about the process with you!

Stitch resist dyeing

In order to create a subtle, linear effect, Cheikhouna will stitch the cotton to create a desired pattern. Sitiba is rarely produced anymore not only because of the amount of time it takes, but because of the complexity of the technique. Cheikhouna stitches each meter of our fabrics to ensure consistency of both design and tension. The fabric will be dyed and then afterward, the stitching will be unraveled to reveal the final pattern. 

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.) In order to create a bold, high contrast multi-colored repeat pattern, a stamped wax technique is used. First, Cheikhouna will meet with his craftsman to work on carving the desired pattern. Once that process is complete and the wooden stamp is finished, he'll begin heating and applying the wax. After the wax is dry, the textile will go through the first dye (teinture) bath, and if there's a contrast color, a second dip after the wax is heated and removed. 

NATURAL ("BIO") TEINTURE

Cheikhouna is a master dyer and one of the last remaining teachers of the "bio" dye process in Dakar. He uses natural roots and leaves such as indigo, charcoal, saffron and turmeric to create subtle shades of blue, green, yellow and grey. 

Due to the pandemic as well as the small-scale, artisanal nature of his process, our most recent collection of these dresses took more than 14 months to complete, and all we can say is that it was absolutely worth the wait! We’re so proud to share these fabrics with you, and we hope you'll love them as much as we do!

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