Dakar Textiles

Story and photos by guest blogger Amy Hanna.  photo 725725cd-26a1-4cba-9b0e-2d1848089218.jpg
Before my recent trip to Dakar, Senegal, I read a lot about it being a bustling, brightly colored example of ‘cosmopolitan Africa.’ During my stay there, I found that nothing embodied this reputation more than women’s clothing.  photo IMG_3768.jpg
Walking down the street, I would pass countless numbers of women wearing custom-made outfits and head wraps sewn by skilled tailors out of traditional fabrics.
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The Senegalese also have a reputation for not liking to be photographed so I wasn’t able to get as many pictures as I would have liked, but I tried to snag a few.
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The designs, colors, and patterns were amazing!  photo IMG_3884.jpg

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The market was full of fabric shops, which were literally stacked floor to ceiling with beautiful patterns and prints.  photo DSC03815.jpg  photo DSC03814.jpg  photo DSC03816.jpg  photo DSC03812.jpg  photo DSC03813.jpg

The most common type of fabric for sale was batik wax-resist printed, a technique where wax is applied to the cloth before patterns are dyed over it. The result is a beautiful, durable, brilliant fabric, which seemed to be most commonly used for women’s clothing in Dakar. For more about the complex history of this technique and the increasing popularity of this type of fabric in fashion, read this.  photo IMG_4743.jpg  photo IMG_4741.jpg

Needless to say I couldn’t resist buying a few brightly colored bolts of my own to bring home. I was able to limit myself to six different designs, but it was a difficult decision:  photo IMG_4734.jpg  photo IMG_4735.jpg  photo IMG_4740.jpg  photo IMG_4737.jpg  photo IMG_4739.jpg  photo IMG_4736.jpg  photo IMG_4738.jpg Now I just have to decide what to make with it!

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Amy has blogged here before, and is currently an English Language Fellow in Potchefstroom, South Africa. To see more of Amy's great photos, visit her Tumblr: Pedagogy in Potchefstroom.

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