African fabrics are more popular than ever, and the time is right to spotlight some of the continent’s most popular textile arts with a month-long celebration in September! From fashion runways all around the world to exclusive boutiques to discount home décor retailers to the mega-influence of the Black Panther movie and its “Wakanda Style,” the appeal of African culture in cloth continues to flourish. And these unique forms of creative expression take on even greater meaning when they’re transformed into DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.
African Fabric Month™) was launched in 2016 to promote the artistic and practical uses of such fabrics as batik, kuba, adinkra, bogolan/mudcloth, korhogo, adire and kente, and to honor the cultures that create them. Fabrics like these lend themselves to one-of-a-kind garments, handbags and accessories, quilts and home accents, connecting DIY makers to the creators of the cloths through their culturally relevant colors, patterns and symbols.
“The month centers on events and activities that expose people of all backgrounds to the beauty of the fabrics, giving them an opportunity to truly “Feel the Fabric… Embrace the Culture,” and African Fabric Month is just another fun vehicle to reach people,” says Lisa Shepard Stewart, owner and instructor at the Cultured Expressions Sewing & Quilting Studio in Rahway.
African Fabric Month encourages a variety of suggested activities and projects that are fun, educational, and culturally relevant. Because it’s geared to people who like to sew, quilt and create (the DIY audience), the one-month time frame gives people of all skill levels enough time to engage in the creation of unique projects. Lisa adds, “Everyone is welcome to participate, and to share their own ideas for African Fabric Month with social media posts, using #AfricanFabricMonth and #SewAfrican.”
The Studio will celebrate with free trunk shows on Saturday, Sept 1 and Sunday, Sept 16, giveaways, weekly specials, gifts-with-purchase and more. Regular hours are Wed 4-8 p.m.; Thurs 12-6 p.m.; Fri 12-6 p.m. and Sat 10-6 p.m. (Note: The Studio will be closed Sept 19-22). Visit AfricanFabricMonth.com.