The Black Thread is an exhibition about inspiring sustainable fashion and textile. The opening was on October 10th at museum in Gothenburg – World Culture Museum. It explores what luxury, sustainability and political consumption mean in the context of Fashion from Africa.

The exhibition connects West Africa’s ancient craftsmanship and dynamic textile traditions. You will see how the designers @marchenoirlomeparis and the haute couture designer @imane_ayissi uses traditional African materials, patterns and techniques in their creations. They have made use of their cultural heritage with its rich African skills and transformed it into something new. A new global aesthetic is emerging that promotes a conscious approach by consumers. They follow the thread back to West Africa’s weavers, tailors, markets, colors, materials and cuts – beyond the image of printed fabrics as known as wax prints typically African.

The art pieces designed by the collective Marché Noir and haute couture designer Imane Ayissi are a mix out of Bogolanfini, Faso Dan Fani, Raffia, Obom, and Ndop. The Bogolanfini fabric is also known as the mud cloth a weaving and fabric dyeing technique that has been practiced in Mali since the 12th century. These dyeing technique is very complex and is traditionally hand painted. Faso Dan Fani originates from Burkina Faso and is traditionally woven by female healers. It is a loincloth with multiple colors and patterns woven with cotton. In addition to Ghanaian Kente, a lavishly woven fabric formerly reserved exclusively for kings. Imane Ayissi combines Raffia from Madagascar, as well Obom a fabric made from bark of the aloe tree and Ndop an indigo-coloured batik fabric from Cameroon. Bamileke women stitch tight patterned patches of raffia grass into the fabric before dipping in the dye pits. After several dye and dry cycles, the grass are cut loose revealing intricate geometric designs and symbols. You will still find bits of raffia stuck in the cloth!  Ndop cloth has many traditional functions, it was worn during funeral.

The designers use high quality craftsmanship in their work and thus initiate new impulses. A new way of seeing is emerging, resulting from African craftsmanship and contemporary design. It is important for the Marché Noir label to play with the narrative of Second-Hand clothing and Hand- Me Down trade. Designer Amah Ayivi consciously incorporates Second Hand into his creations and sells them in the global North.

At the Museum of Etnography in Stockholm, classic textiles from Africa are shown that are associated with films about contemporary designers of African heritage. An exhibition dedicated to African craftsmanship and textiles.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with @artcomesfirst, @ifsuede and @justafrica and is part of the project Ongoing Africa. Part of the exhibition The Black Thread will be shown at @etnografiska . The exhibition is on display at the Museum of Cultures from the 10th of October – April 2021 and at the Museum Etnography from 10 October until further notice.

Snapshots taken from the director @king_kunta_1  Film is directed by King Kunta and produced by | Institut Francais – presents Imane Ayissi