The Kanga – Exploring one of the materials used to create a pair of Rock and Stones shorts.

Rock and Stones shorts are made using a variety of materials but here we explore the history behind one of the materials used, the lovely Kanga.

The kanga, a vibrantly coloured East African cloth, was created on the island of Zanzibar in the mid-1880s. This printed cotton fabric with its unique mix of colours, designs and messages, is worn by many people across Sub-Saharan Africa, but continues to have a very special place in the cultural history of Kenya.

Kangas are often distinguished by a border along all four sides (pindo in Kiswahili) a central design (mji) and a written message (jina). The kanga is usually sold as a pair and they are popular for their many uses: shirts, shawls, turbans, blankets and even baby carriers. Although generally associated with women khangas can be worn by men as well.

Text was first as added as part of the kanga design in the early 1900s and was originally printed in Arabic. Today these Kiswahili ‘text messages’ are an integral part of the clothes appeal. Kanga text speaks truth with poetic layers of cultural meaning often using proverbs or religious messages to share an idea or make a point. Historical events both local and global can also be recorded on the kanga.

Rock and Stones Kanga Material

Once the material has arrived it is now time for the amazing team at Rock and Stones to do what they do best. Part and parcel of the drive to create exciting and successful items for Rock & Stones is the pleasure of working with a small, close-knit team. Not only does this bring in a salary for each days work but each one of the Rock and Stones team enjoy the camaraderie and sense of satisfaction from a good job, well done.

The Team works together to…

💗 Check for blemishes and stray or pulled threads that might need attention on the newly arrived material…
💗 Soaking and washing the material in salted water to set the dyes
💗 Cutting the pattern
💗 Sewing your shorts
💗 Ironing, Folding & Packing with love
And finally, transport the finished item to market and voila! Each pair of shorts finds a loving home with one of our loyal fans!
Did you know that each team member of Rock and Stones sews a garment from beginning to end?

Rock and Stones - Checking shorts  Rock and Stones - Ironing Kanga

Deborah Boyd-Moss IDEAS & THOUGHTS On behalf of PLANET EARTH

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