The word “Madzang” designates, in the Ewondo language of central Cameroon, a family member, a cousin, an aunt, who is dear to us and with whom a complicity is established. By extension, this word is also used for a friend, or even a distant person, to signify a form of closeness. Today this term is also used between Africans to show the link created by the common experience of living in or coming from this continent. But finally, could we not use it for the whole humanity to remind us of what links us beyond the differences of cultures?
Just as two friends who have been closed for so long and end up looking alike, when we look at the appearance of different peoples’ cultures, the commonalities are as numerous as the differences. This is especially true of traditional textile cultures. For example, the various forms of stripes are a common aesthetic throughout humanity, indigo has been traditionally used in Europe, Asia and Africa to dye textiles, the idea of embroidery is universal…etc.
This is these links, this uniqueness in diversity that I explore in this collection, which is conceived as a dialogue between fashion and textile traditions from different parts of the world. Thus, in a game of doubles that are not exactly what they look like, a traditional navy tweed from Linton, woven in England, responds to a textile in cotton and kapok,hand woven and dyed with indigo in Gambia. Another multicolored tweed from Linton, discuss with a Kenté from Ghana in the same color range. A striped cotton canvas for kimono, woven on ancient looms in Shizuoka Hamamatsu in Japan, walks with a Faso Dan Fani from Burkina Faso. A delicate lace by Sophie Hallettemade in Caudry is reflected in a “AdireEloko” printed with a lace pattern in Nigeria and raffia from Madagascar stands alongside a luxurious double silk gazar woven in Italy …
A collection to remind us that culture can serve as much to define the identity of a people and therefore to differentiate it, as to create a passage, a path to other peoples.
All images courtesy of Imane Ayissi