Come discover why this art space continues to be an independent voice to be reckoned with, in Atlanta.
ON GOING 2013
Vlisco, The True Original
Public Exhibition (viewed from outside the gallery) of
West and Central African Fabric
The twelve cloth panels hanging in the gallery windows are from the renowned fabric house of Vlisco.
Since 1846 Vlisco has been designing and producing colorful fashion fabrics that form an essential part of the lively West and Central African culture. Vlisco has an innate sense of the expressive and creative strength of African consumers and, for generations, has succeeded in surprising and inspiring her passionate clientele with unique designs. As the sole authentic designer and manufacturer of such fabrics as ‘Wax Hollandais (cotton impregnated with a paraffin based wax, than woven into a cloth)’.
It is interesting to note that the fabrics are not original to Africa the way people think but are proof of having undergone a crossbred cultural background as vast as Africa herself. In the mid-19th century, the Dutch enlisted a bunch of West African men both slaves and mercenaries—to beef up their army in Indonesia. While there, these men took a liking to the local handicrafts and brought batik back to their home countries. And voila: A taste emerged in West Africa for these Indonesian designs. As they became more popular, West African tastes shaped the evolving designs we see today. The local women traders who originally distributed the fabrics favored brighter palettes, tighter patterns, and geometric shapes. New patterns were designed to reflect significant events and local proverbs.
The Vlisco strategy is aimed at enabling well-to-do African women to experience the brand in all her facets and to maintain the leading position, not only in the area of design, but also in terms of total brand orientation. Developments take place at neck-breaking speed in Africa and Vlisco aspires to inspire and gain the loyalty of younger generations as well. Innovation is therefore an essential element within the company. In keeping with this, a new collection is launched every three months in the four Vlisco Boutiques in Africa. With a complete line of bags, shoes and jewelry, women clothe themselves in Vlisco from head to toe.
Having the latest designs, and wearing carefully chosen, meaningful patterns, communicates social status. Wax prints are also used as courting gifts, they’re usually included in a woman’s dowry, and they are even essential garb at funerals.
The clothing lines serve largely as a source of inspiration for African consumers, who often have their clothing made by a personal tailor.
U*Space Gallery hopes you will enjoyed this public exhibit.