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africanwaxprint

African wax print (Ghana, Central Africa, West Africa) wax resist-printed cloth marked by colorful geometric patterns and symbolic graphic designs popularly worn in Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, among other countries of Central and West Africa; also known as Dutch wax, Real English wax, and Guaranteed Dutch Java. African wax prints did not originate in Africa but in Europe, where they were developed as imitations of batiks from the Dutch East Indies. Since landing in Africa’s Gold Coast in the late 19th century, African wax prints have been assimilated into African society and culture, considered a prestigious cloth used for self-expression. Patterns and colors communicate details about the wearer, like age, social standing, or tribe. Design motifs recur in themes related to political and historical events, education, water, African proverbs, or aspirational possessions. Production is largely outside of Africa, but design and marketing remain controlled by the Africans, who feel great ownership and pride for these fabrics. Crisp, vivid printing on both sides of a cloth is the hallmark of a genuine, high quality African wax print. Inspired by the African fabrics seen during a King Sunny Adé concert, Christina used African wax prints in dosa’s very first collection in 1984. Today, dosa uses a combination of wax prints from esteemed Dutch company Vlisco and those picked up at a local Los Angeles marketplace. (1984)

asooke

aso oke (Nigeria) traditional cotton cloth from Yoruba, Nigeria, handwoven in long, narrow strips of various lengths; Yoruban for prestige cloth or upcountry cloth. Aso oke is woven by men using supplementary weft brocade and openwork techniques. Narrow strips ten to twenty centimeters wide and many meters long are stitched together, selvedge to selvedge, into wider cloths worn as garments. A woman's full ensemble, or "complete," consists of a wraparound skirt, head wrap, and shoulder shawl. Men wear a large gown and trousers made of the cloth. Aso oke is considered very prestigious and worn only for special occasions. In the 1960-70s, imported dyes and yarns brought by British traders led to new varieties. The metallic-striped aso oke cloth used by dosa is made with shiny synthetic Lurex®, presumably imported to reflect the stylistic ethos arising from the popularization of rock n' roll. The aso oke used for dosa housewares and accessories is a mix of vintage and contemporary, sourced by our African supplier Zakari Nimaga. (1986)

avani

Avani (Himalayas) non-governmental organization working in remote rural villages of Kumaon of Uttarakhand to promote craft-based and farm-based means of livelihood. Artisans spin, dye, and weave by hand using locally cultivated natural materials in a sustainable manner. Avani helped revive traditional textile arts of the Bhutia, whose trade suffered drastically when borders were closed with Tibet. dosa worked with Avani to produce traditional Bhutia chutka and thulma in handwoven, organic wool. (2006) See also chutka; thulma