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Published: 04 July 2020

By Andy Ross

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Article of the Week - number twenty one

The textiles of Africa are as complex and innovative as anywhere else in the world but this is about those fabrics that many think of as typically "African".

There is a fascinating debate going on at the moment about these bright wax-print textiles, with their iconography and meanings, which questions not the origins of the materials but how people interpret and identify with them. You can read about the debate on the BBC website here

Whatever we know about the origins of the fabrics, they are firmly associated with the continent. Regional differences make for a bewildering array of colour and pattern across Africa and, for the diaspora in London, we are lucky to have many shops selling the cloths. Last week, we took a trip to Petticoat Lane to look for these textiles. We have now added eighteen new fabrics, each 6 metres in length, to the collection. This seems to have hit the zeitgeist - nearby Spitalfields market has a lot of makers who are using the fabric in their clothes and bags. 

Here are some close-ups of a few of the new pieces which have been added to the studio collection.