Shweshwe (isishweshwe) is thick cotton fabric, clearly defined today by the many vibrant colours, repetitive patterns and its light sheen. It has emerged throughout history as a cultural commodity of South Africa. Derived from Indian calico and European Blueprint, Shweshwe’s predecessor ‘Blaudruk’ reached the shores of South Africa in the 1800s by German immigrants. Over time, this sturdy fabric spread throughout South Africa, allowing different cultural communities to create meaning and use, making Shweshwe a truly cross-cultural fabric.
Shweshwe is made by using copper rollers with an etched surface on fabric and allowing a solution of weak acid to bleach the fabric. Authentic Shweshwe can be identified by its waxy feel and defined by the trademark stamp of Da Gama Textiles. Da Gama Textiles is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest vertically integrated textile producers and is a pillar of the Zwelitsha community in Eastern Cape.
Shweshwe when treated with the respect it deserves is a timeless asset to any wardrobe, which is why we pre-wash & soften the fabric to remove the waxy residue, allowing for pre-shrinking and guaranteeing maximum comfort of the garments we produce.