I have been thinking about writing a post for a while about the fake shwe shwe brands that are imported from China and Pakistan and how this is ruining some of what makes shwe shwe so special.
For me one of the special things about shwe shwe and about this log is the individuality in all of the items that make them so special . Now mass produced fake shwe shwe dresses that look like a cross between something some South Africa and something from Northern Africa in the chinz and cotton takes away the beauty and individuality of the dresses.
Here is a great article on these fake imports- why they are of such inferior quality - all due to the indigo process - and its affects.
Nowadays, Da Gama registers its designs under various trademarks in each of the countries it trades. Each of its brands, including its most popular brand, Three Cats, is recognised by the logo etched on every roll of fabric.
"Da Gama is the only original shweshwe manufacturer — not just in this country, but in the world," said Anwar Vahed, sales manager of the company's home-sewing division.
But this heavily guarded bastion of local craftsmanship is under threat from cheap imports, which sell at about half the price of the original.
Vahed estimates that Da Gama has lost about 10% of its market to counterfeit shweshwe material imported from China and Pakistan since South Africa came out of isolation, and the company has had to dock its number of factory workers from 3 000 to 600 over the period.
Rees Mann, co-founder of Joburg's Fashion Kapitol noted the growing trend. "They copy their prints 100% and transfer it to polycotton material.
Just as apartheid destroyed the Afrocentricity in our fashion industry, so the Chinese are destroying what's left, which is shweshwe," said Mann. "It's virtually the theft of South African heritage."
Lovely shwe shwe things for little people online - if you are looking for Christmas ideas.
Recebtly found two lovely online sites that I didnt know before with products. Baby Scoop.co.za and Utique
check them out and see their products
I love the Shwe shwe bloomers for little girls from Baby scoop . They also have very pretty shwe shwe dresses and some things in a boys range too
Utique have items for room decor, such as plush animal heads, animal toys and these beautiful sleeping bags in a blue and a pink shwe shwe. I love their animal heads so much - think I might have add one to Jack"s room for Christmas
Because everyone who knows Jack"s mom knows that she likes shwe shwe he already has a few wonderful shwe shwe items in his cupboard and I am happily discovering all the lovely products and applications for shwe shwe and babies.
He has a gorgeous shwe shwe elephant and his favourite shwe shwe giraffe and we love spelling words in pictures for his aunts and grandparents with our shwe shwe Fridge Magnets
You can buy the gorgeous shwe shwe animals online from the all things shwe shwe store at the Pickled Fish.
Fridge Magnets avaialbe at various local design shops. Mine were all gifts, but you can buy them online at Meekal.co.za
There are two exciting exhibits of shwe shwe on at the moment - The one run by Iziko in Cape Town and another on on Social Fabric at the British Museum in London .
Lovely Lynda the lemon lady who now lives in London went to see and snuck me a picture of one of the exhibits.
The rich fabric of African printed and factory-woven textiles reflects changing times, fashions and tastes. From eastern to southern Africa, the social and historical significance of these beautiful and diverse materials are also reflected in the identities of those who wear them.
Iziko Gallery exhibit
Location: Slave Lodge From: February 23, 2013 To: December 31, 2014
By means of costumes, accessories and contextual images, this exhibition traces the origins of isishweshwe cloth from its roots as a trade item in Asia and Europe, to its establishment as a much-loved southern African material icon. The diverse uses of this cloth, from the apron of the Xhosa makoti to high fashion clothing, will be displayed using
Enquiries: Wieke van Delen, Tel. 021 467 7203 or email email@example.com
There was a recent public outcry about an art work at a local art Gallery in South Africa that stirred up some very strong emotions. Some people were up in arms at the artwork and others were outraged that this issue receieved airtime, when other more pressing human rights issues dont get such a strong reaction.
Either way the road to the gallery was the scene of some loud protest and high emotion.
A few days after it all blew up someone sowed a shwe shwe love bomb along Jan Smuts Avenue with images of hearts and words of love tied up along trees lining the road.
I popped in to African Queen the other day to buy myself a birthday present - I love all the things in this shop, and had seen a dress a few weeks back that I coverted. (The dress was so lovely that when the shop assistant showed me another one in the same style but a different colour I bought both )
In a basket as part of their products where the brightest happiest pairs of espadrils made of the Fancy Prints shwe shwe range from Da Gama
I recently went on a walking tour in down town Joburg with the super team from Past Experiences becuase its a walk I have wanted to do for a while with them. Partly because I enjoy walking in town but also because I knew we would be working through some stunning shwe shwe shop streets.
I even bought myself a very traditional shwe shwe dress that I hope to be able to wear in a more contemprary way this winter.