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Making clothes from natural forest Resources & Traditional Fabric-Making Techniques

Make clothes from tree bark : a time-honored indigenous craft threatened by mass-produced clothing. The indigenous Sápara people are determined to pass this expertise on to the young generations.

Bark cloth manufacturing in Uganda

The making of bark cloth is an ancient craft of the Baganda, a people established in the kingdom of Buganda, in southern Uganda. Traditionally, artisans of the Ngonge clan, under the leadership of a kaboggoza, hereditary chief of the artisans, made bark cloth for the Baganda royal family and the rest of the community.
This work is based on some of the oldest skills of humanity, a prehistoric technique prior to the invention of weaving.


José Hendo Brand by Josephine Kyomuhendo

Ugandan-born British fashion designer known worldwide by her brand name José Hendo is passionate about eco- sustainability at all levels.

Josephine Kyomuhendo was born in Uganda
Josephine Kyomuhendo planted her first mutuba tree and the one million Mutuba Trees campaign was born.

This is also in line with the ‘Bark to the Roots (B2TR)’ that aims at promoting the use of bark cloth globally, anchored in the ethos of the sustainable development goals.
Hendo had used a lot of material but while putting together a collection called Resonance, she needed a fabric that had a story to tell; one that was organic and had movement.

José Hendo takes a fresh approach to contemporary fashion design, challenging the obsolescence nature of fashion, and the throw away culture. The label is passionately conscious of the times and is inspired by the world around us.





Fred Mutebi & Jose Hendo on Barkcloth

Artist Fred Mutebi and fashion designer Jose Hendo discuss environmentally-friendly, renewable barkcloth fabric on ‘Inside Africa’.

Report Realise by Inside Africa


Angel Chang creates a luxury collection of clothing in preserving traditional fabric-making techniques

In 2011, American womenswear designer Angel Chang moved from New York City to a remote mountain village in Guizhou Province, rural China, to learn the traditional fabric-making techniques still practiced there by the ethnic minority elders.

In 2017, Village Embassy was launched as a wholesale textile line to revive traditional fabric-making practices in need of urgent safeguarding.
It was the first Chinese atelier selected for Première Vision’s Maison d’Exceptions, and the traditional fabrics.

Atelier Angel Chang crafts a womenswear collection using the traditional hand woven textiles of the indigenous of the Miao, Dong, ethnic minorities in Guizhou Province, China. Inspired by the meaning and quality of the textiles from the region.
Buyi tribes became commercially available to the international fashion industry for the first time in history.

Angel Chang creates a luxury collection of clothing from them.
Working closely with the artisans of Dimen village, Angel Chang is trying to preserve these ancient techniques by helping to gain recognition for their craft in the international marketplace. Designs are aimed at the luxury customer, with a hand-embroidered biker jacket retailing at $1,000, and taking a full month just to just weave the fabric.





Angel Chang is hoping to attract long term investors to support a womenswear collection built around the artisanal cotton weaves and traditions from these villages, hence building a sustainable source of income for the village, produced in line with nature and the seasons, and presenting the collection to buyers in Paris, Madrid and New York.


Miss Zahui – A Prolific Fashion Designer


Miss ZAHUI is A prolific fashion designer, Françoise Zahui, commonly known as « Miss Zahui », chose to make clothes with fabrics made from tree bark.

Ivorian from the city of Gagnoa, in the southwest, Miss Zahui currently lives in Abidjan where she draws her inspiration.
This is also where she has held her workshop since 1986.

Miss ZAHUI says « It is an inspiration that cannot be explained. I didn’t have the inspiration of geniuses, it’s God ”.

Miss Zahui uses the barks of the Abachi tree, which are « tender and solid » at the same time.
To do this, she frequently travels through the dense forests of West Africa, but also the forests of Central Africa in the company of the Pygmies, to unearth the famous barks of this tree which can reach up to 50 m high and 2 meters in diameter.


Miss ZAHUI – Make Tree bark cloth with Abachi Tree

Eight years of research on own funds for promotion and exposure supported by the RTI Ivorian television channel in the program « art in movement ».
Miss ZAHUI is one of the essential links of the creative forces whose brilliance and creativity bring a particular touch in the Ivorian fashion world is full of talents, unique in its profession for its pioneering role in African fashion, it does not only design clothing but also manufactures its own material « TAPA« .

Tapa, a typically Ivorian product, is a fabric that served as clothing for our ancestors.
The name « Tapa » is due to the fact that this tree bark tissue is obtained after several stages.
Tapa is obtained in the following stages:
– Tree cutting.
– Extraction of bark from wood.
– Multiple strikes on the tree bark until the bark expands to
donate the tissue.
– Sun drying.
– Tincture according to taste.




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