A favourite of our co-founder Bee Friedmann, who grew up in South Africa where authentic Shwe Shwe fabric is manufactured and enjoys huge popularity. Bee likes to pick up new designs for our collections whenever visiting her home city of Johannesburg.
Not all fabrics are cut from the same cloth and Shwe Shwe is certainly one of a kind. This stunning printed cotton fabric is widely used for South African clothing, so much so that it is often referred to as the “denim” of Africa. Shwe Shwe is traditionally used to make dresses, skirts, aprons, and wrap-around clothing. It is traditionally worn by newly married Xhosa women (known as Makoti) and married Sotho women.
Although this versatile fabric has many uses, its production is another interesting aspect. Manufactured with an acid discharge and roller printing technique on pure coon calico (calico is a plain-woven textile made from unbleached and often not fully processed cotton). What truly makes this fabric so special is the unique designs which are made using pilotage, a fabric technique rarely used by contemporary fabric manufacturers due to its complexity and expense. Bee always looks out for the 'three cats' logo of authenticity when choosing our fabrics to ensure they are the best quality.