The Material My Dreams Are Made of

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been keen on African fabrics. In Paris, I could never walk past it, got involved in conversations with the store owners around the Châteu Rouge metro station and bought lots of yards. For great summer clothes, bed linen, robes, cloth bags, and more. I only realised much later that these fabrics didn’t come from Africa but were made in Holland. It always says 100% Holland WAX on the label, but somehow, I related this more to the technology and less to the production location.

The place to be for anyone crazy about these prints is a small town in the Netherlands. Helmond. Because this is where the large Vlisco factory is located. With its own showroom and factory outlet. The fabric bales (6 yards) are, on average, €10 cheaper there. Otherwise, getting a tour of the factory is almost impossible. Vlisco is terrified that the designs will be copied. And rightly so, because this happens regularly by cheap suppliers from China and other countries in Asia and Africa. I was there in January 2018, and the new collection was in production, so there was no chance. I’m still a real fan. Vlisco is and remains unique. The short film above shows how the fabrics are printed.

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