In Photos: “Signares” by Fabrice Monteiro.
As European traders and explorers began to ascend on Africa’s west coast around the 15th and 16th century, as these men where forbidden from bringing their families and wives from their home countries, they began to intermingle and intermarry with African women in the Senegambia region. As a result of these relations, many of these women began to orchestrate business dealings to their benefits “using these partnerships to bolster their socioeconomic standing and personal trading enterprises”. One signare in the 1770s from St Louis, Senegal, is noted to have been a property owner and dealer as she bought and sold property in Saint-Domingue, while “five other signares in Gorée signed a petition against a poorly run French company that had been awarded an exclusive contract with the island”.
Although these relations were not at first recognized by colonial and European authorities, it later became acceptable for Europeans living in Senegal to marry and have their descendants profit from these unions through heritage rights. Most of these women were considered to be of a high class and often married “middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats”. Naturally, a new sense of fashion was born as the women combined their own traditional styles with European attire at the time.
All Africa, All the time.
Africa’s favorite brand is Dutch, but originates from Indonesia. They have great products and fantastic photoshoots.
short history (courtesy of Balafong.com)
- Vlisco was founded in 1846 by Pieter Fentener van Vlissingen in a town in south Holland. In the 1850’s, Vlisco started exporting printed batik to the Dutch East Indies which is present day Indonesia.
- In 1876, it expanded it’s market to Africa. The demand grew after the return of the African Soldier’s from Indonesia between 1837 - 1872. These soldiers settled primarily in Ghana.
- In 1900, Vlisco met fierce competition in Indonesia and decided to concentrate on the African market. They started making fabrics to suit African taste
- 1n 1954, Africa became the mainstay for Vlisco. The export for wax prints to Africa represented 50% of the total production equal to 66% of the profits. The production of the European market would decline until 1981 when it ceased entirely.
Wow, I had no idea….