Updated: May 20
Growing up in Kenya during the time my late grandma, Mama Sophie Odera was still alive and full of life to share life with everyone who was lacking, I had the opportunity to learn way more that I would know now.
One of my highlights was the tie and dye techniques that she taught us. Once we grasped the concept, I could actually could work about 10 pieces a day of which would make their way into her craft shop, ‘Wanainchi Craft Shop,’ the 1st craft shop ever established in my home city, Kisumu. The shop attracted over 50% sales in exports into bigger fashion markets in the 80’s.
The process of tie-dye typically consists of folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment and binding with string or rubber bands, followed by the application of dye.
During school holidays my parents packed my siblings and I into the car and off we travelled to the western side of the country to visit our grandparents and our other family in Kisumu. The goal behind, these trips was to learn our roots and culture and connect with the rest of my relatives who never felt the need to relocate to Nairobi, but rather spent their time and money investing and building in that side of the country.
From Ghana to Gambia, tie-dyeing is one of the many ways that African artisans like to express their style and diversity.
Many of the symbols you’ll see in African tie-dye come from the various cultures in Africa. Tie-dye from West Africa often features Ashanti, Akan or Adinkra symbols and many more.
Personally, I love the tie-dye technique because it’s produces more than just one result through one creative appliqué; it can produce a variety of prints out of one technique and that makes it colorful and makes each piece so unique (similar but different). In Africa today, I feel there is less exploration of the tie-dye technique by artisans and creatives especially within the Fashion industry like before, however there is still use of some of the traditional styles of tying and dyeing including Batik, Shibori and Bandhani.
Kirsty Williams is wearing the Liz Ogumbo peep-back thigh-slit chiffon gown with a metallic print contrast bodice while I am wearing the Liz Ogumbo tie-neck chiffon blouse with a print metallic mini skirt for to create a beautiful #juxtaposition.
If you would like your customized piece of either style, email us at email@example.com or what sap on +27 769430396 for more details on how to get your tie-dye piece to you.
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