It may not seem like a big deal when you’re sporting the the prints that you love, but when it comes to who is profiting on those bold and beautiful textiles, you might change your mind. Face2Face Africa reported that the majority of your fabrics are actually just ‘ideas’ of authentic elements borrowed by foreigners selling them to people like you and me.
Instead of being offended and educating non-Africans that the Chinese, Indians, and a few local manufacturing companies are messing up our industry by stealing our ideas and marketing them as “African,” we are just following the trend and not stopping to tell people that “hey, this one is Kente from Ghana and this other one is just an idea of the Kente that is depriving us of customers we need to grow our local industry.” – DZIFFA AKUA of Face2Face Africa
Traditionally ‘borrowing’ a cultural element to make a profit off of it has been deemed cultural appropriation. ‘But what can you do to ensure that your hard earned pesa is going to your local community instead supporting sweat shop in China.
It might be tempting to buy cheap fabric you whose origin you don’t know, but consider what you’re actually buying. Cheap fabric can be made with harsh chemicals and additives in order to make production costs cheaper, and profits greater. When buying fabric, but consciously. Ask the stall/store owner if they know where the fabric is from – or, even better visit a traditional market.