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Basotho Blankets


Cape Town-based architect Michelle Collis imports authentic Basotho Tribal Blankets from Lesotho. They are available from her store, SHNU, at District-One in Cape Town. The lambswool blankets are made from 92% virgin lambswool and 8% cotton warp with a cotton whip on the edge. We chatted to Michelle about this initiative... 'I got  snowed in outside of Lesotho on the drive back from a wedding and I needed a blanket. My friends, having seen some of the pics taken, requested their own Tribal blankets and the idea sparked. I travelled home with a boot full of blankets,' shares Michelle. 'At that stage, I was on a search for products with meaning that explore the intersection of identity, place and design. These Basotho blankets carry a complex narrative and cross over between colonialism and Africa.' 'As an architect, I always wanted to have a lifestyle store  to encourage activities that architecture facilitates. At my centre at District-One, SHNU aims to offer architecture and craft for the individual and community, promote narrative design, generate activities and encourage new experiences and relationships,' she says. The blankets have a tradition dating back from the 1860s, when they replaced animal skins as the garment of choice. After centuries of production they keep to the same Royal appointment standard. Today, each one is still made using traditional methods, with skills passed down through generations. SHNU blankets retail from R1 190. A portion of proceeds goes back to the Lesotho kingdom, sustaining this tribal craft and encouraging cultural dialogue across cultures. Blankets are available at SHNU online at shnu.someammo.com, or retail from Ebony in Franschhoek, Imagenius and The Shoestring Collective, Cape Town. Contact Michelle on districtoneproducts@gmail.com for more information.