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Item of the day:Cowboys and Indians

The inspiration for this anthology came from a resist dye technique called ikat. This ancient practice has been trending international textile exhibitions and sparked the interest of local fabric wizard, Tessa Sonik. Sonik, who often looks to global movements for design suggestions, recontextualises and frequently reinvents their European underpinnings into an African narrative. Following this vein, she delved into the history of ikat and the result was a wonderfully cultural product with a local twist. Ikat is a dyeing process comparable to tie-dye. Bindings, which resist dye penetration, are applied to threads in the desired patterns. Alteration of the bindings and the dyeing of more than one colour produce intricate, multi-coloured patterns. When all the dyeing is finished, the bindings are removed and the threads are ready to be woven into cloth. Sonik and her team mapped the survival of this intricate weave, spanning the length of South America - from Argentina to Mexico - studying the ikat techniques of the Native Americans. They were struck by the laborious practises, the craftsmanship and the blueprint development. Sonik also came to the realisation that wherever there were Indians, there were cowboys too. This dichotomy became the basis for the new range, influencing the title of the collection and reference for the noticeable aesthetic division in textiles. The cowboys provision includes buttery leathers and embossed PVC that resembles the lines and contours of a pony’s coat. The Indians are commonly natural yarns consisting of cottons, lines and viscose. It’s a soft, neutral palette orientated by pale aquas and subtle greens, compared to the peppery reds and lazuli blues of the cowboys, evocative of the American Mid-West. Above are some of the must-have fabrics from the collection that are as versatile as they are eclectic. For more information you can visit tessasonik.com or email capetown@tessasonik.co.za.