Monday, December 21, 2009

JJ Schoeman

I produced this custom-dyed twill for JJ Schoeman for SA Fashion Week 2005. This particular garment went with him all the way to New York Fashion Week in the same year.

JJ supplied me with plain white twill and a brief for "something African." I began by planning the layout in dressmakers chalk on the fabric to make sure that the shapes were evenly spaced and proportionately sized. It was a tedious job stitching in each shield shape by hand. Each one had to be individually stitched and shaped.

First, I crush dyed the fabric in golden yellow. Then, I added another layer of brown dye. After rinsing all the excess away thoroughly with lots of clean water (I would hate to dye the model too!) the stitching was unpicked to reveal the pattern.

JJ turned it into this stunning catwalk creation!

See how he has cleverly added beadwork to compliment the dyed shapes. The natural wooden beads were a good choice to add authentic detailing in keeping with the natural look and feel of the cloth. Central Africa has a rich culture of tie dye and I often look to the textiles from Kenya and Ghana for inspiration.

This beautiful picture was taken by Ivan Naude for SA Fashion Week. Ivan has tracked my work through his lens for some time now and most recently he took the pictures for my book, Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press). Find out more about this amazing photographer at

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards


1 comment:

  1. That's beautiful fabric. It really does make the piece. It will have designers looking for that fabric with their suppliers. Did you keep the rights or sell the rights to JJ to have the print digitalized if he ends up needing hundreds of yards of it?