Top of the page

Five of the Most Creative African Textile Designers

Posted in Design  |  June 23, 2018

Five of the Most Creative African Textile Designers
With the growing interest for African art in general, it is natural to see the resurgence of textile design from the continent. In particular, West African textiles are making an impact in Western markets due to the global demand for sustainable products. African fabrics, with their bold and colorful patterns, are gradually making their way into designer collections.

Textile designers have the ability to inspire collections and influence trends. First, they incorporate both their initial vision of the finished textile with the technical aspects of production. Then, they draw ideas for patterns and forms on paper or using computer-aided design software. Finally, they pick the fabric on which to print or weave the pattern.

Aissa Dione

Nationality: Senegal/France
Studio: Aissa Dione Tissus
Technique: Weaving

Born to a French mother and a Senegalese father, Aissa Dione grew up in France. In 1992, she launched her textile company with the last remaining master weavers of the Manjack peoples in Senegal. Since then, she has grown her studio into an internationally recognized brand. Dione combines her own artistic knowledge with traditional local techniques, providing home décor and fashion accessories to various designers around the world. She works with around fifty craft weavers who weave her design, using traditional looms to make various textiles. Dione also run an art gallery in Dakar, where she presents and promotes works of local artists as well as furniture developed in her studio.

Pillow by Aissa Dione

Aboubakar Fofana

Nationality: Mali/France
Studio: Aboubakar Fofana
Technique: Indigo dyeing, Mud dyeing

Born in Mali and grew up in France, Aboubakar Fofana worked for many years as a graphic designer and a calligrapher. He started researching into traditional dyeing techniques in Paris and set up his first vat of indigo dye in Bamako. The vat is a key element where the fermentation process takes place – with few ingredients and no chemical. Fofana sees the dyeing process as an art form and a spiritual practice. His work reflects a love for the natural world and its cycles and rhythms and a deep concern for the environment. He creates luxury and beauty products using indigenous West African materials and techniques whilst helping to reinvigorate and sustain important traditions.

Uprising by Aboubakar Fofana

Boubacar Doumbia

Nationality: Mali
Studio: Ndomo
Technique: Mud dyeing

Boubacar Doumbia was born in Mali. He developed an interest in traditional cloth making techniques in his youth. In 2004, he opened his studio with a focus on natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques. His studio is more a social enterprise, which aims to address the problem of youth unemployment. Doumbia started working with a small group in his native village of Segou, and trained them in his small workshop. He taught traditional cloth dying to youth with physical disabilities, but the demand for training quickly expanded. His studio continues to produce quality textile products including fashion accessories and decorative furnishing items.

Pillow by Ndomo

Nicole Levenberg

Nationality: South Africa
Studio: Aureum Design
Technique: Textile printing

Nicole Levenberg was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied Fine Art at the Wits University in Johannesburg and Textile Design in London. While there, she did a research project involving the tropical greenhouses, which inspired her work using tropical and exotic foliage. Her work often combines traditional drawing with contemporary abstract, creating aesthetical print imagery. Colour plays an important role in her printmaking, enticing the viewer with beautiful hues. Levenberg uses exaggerated and unexpected scale in order to elevate drawn imagery from page into striking fashion garments, and makes design decisions based on image placement on the body.

Tanglewood by Aureum Design

Hana Getachew

Nationality: Ethiopia/US
Studio: Bolé Road Textiles
Technique: Weaving

Hana Getachew was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a few years in Montreal, her family settled in New York where she studied in Interior Design. Upon starting her career, she realized her affinity for vibrant colors and graphic patterns was a direct result of her upbringing in a home filled with amazing traditional Ethiopian textiles. Getachew later started her company, which combines ancient weaving traditions, passed down through the generations to today’s master local artisans, with a modern global aesthetic. She design her products based on concept drawn from Ethiopia’s culture and natural beauty. She also curates and reuses traditional Ethiopian motifs, often re-coloring them to create a modern and fresh palette that compliments her collections.

Admas by Bole Road