While on my last “Colorful Friday“ (that’s what I call the weekly thrift store tour), I found these gorgeous pants and I was over the moon.

I was impressed by the label, so I decided to do a little research.

I could not find the brand online; it’s probably a small local one. Judging by the name, it’s probably from Ghana or South Africa. As far as I could find, “yawaaba” means “charge”; maybe it’s an old religious term. I think it corresponds to the rest of the text, “Femmes Vertueuses” (“Virtuous Women”, a reference to the Old Testament) – obviously, the manufacturer’s name. I could not find it online either, but it still sparked my imagination. My guess was that it could be a Christian charity providing work for women to help them make ends meet and save them from violence and exploitation, while keeping them away from vice.

I’ve read about such organisations in Nepal, India and Africa; there are similar ones here too. These women live in sheltered housing. They usually sew or craft (jewelry, pottery, etc.), and the produce is sold to meet their needs.

I’ve always loved ethnic fabrics, with their rich colors and patterns. I think traditional African print fabrics are fascinating, so I snatch every bit of them that I can lay my hands on. I collect Dashiki shirts; my favorite is the green one that my friend Jana gave me.

I wore my favorite Dashiki shirt at our first online music event during the lockdown in 2020. The clubs were closed, so we listened at home, in front of our laptops. Still, there was beer and live chat with friends… Always keeping the festive spirit alive!

Actually, Jana didn’t have much of a choice. Green is my favorite color, so when I saw her wearing it I knew I just had to have it, and I begged her to exchange it for another one from my collection. She had found it in a thrift shop and she loved it too, but I gave her two blue ones in return, so everyone was happy.

I feel it’s my mission to make the world more colorful, so I often take some of these shirts with me when we go to live music events or festivals. I like to give them to musicians and friends, which creates a festive mood. The shirts make people happy, and the musicians keep wearing them when they play elsewhere. They give them to other musicians too, and then they ask me for new ones to replace those. So, color keeps spreading around! Mission accomplished.

Musicians and other friends, enjoying their Dashiki shirts at festivals and clubs
Me, Nick and friends at a recent live music event (Patches Blues Bar)
At “The Ship” (the coolest beach bar we know) with my hot pink Dashiki shirt. My beads are on the table; I often bring them at vacations and festivals, to make love beads necklaces and give them to people.

The African wax print fabrics in my stash are a major inspiration for my projects. I use them to make dresses, bags, to decorate denim jackets, etc.

My first African print dress. I made the skirt from a second hand sheet.
My red Dashiki dress – up-cycled combination of several items (top, shirts, etc.)
Combination of fabrics from thrifted Dashiki shirts.
Nick ordered this beautiful fabric as a birthday present for me. It was love at first sight! Green is my favorite color; it goes especially well with purple.
Another favorite dress. I made it from a second hand top and skirt. The orange-green fabric for the bottom part was ordered from Etsy.
I used African print fabrics to embellish the back and front of this denim shirt. It is now flying overseas!
Up-cycled denim jacket, a collage of vibrant African patterns.
Available in our Etsy shop – https://www.etsy.com/listing/956355371
Asymmetric hem tunic, mix of colorful African prints.
My denim aprons with African print appliqué… The ladies loved them!
This apron was an inspiration for this beautiful artist. She added one of my love beads necklaces too.
This picture still makes me so happy!
I tie-dyed this white Dashiki shirt. Now it lives in Great Britain, to brighten up the murky English weather.
I think this fitted denim jacket looks both cheerful and elegant.
It is available in our Etsy shop, too – https://www.etsy.com/listing/885179629/

We also made mugs with prints of my collage designs with these ethnic patterns.

“Magic Garden” – https://www.etsy.com/listing/1025978595
“Magic Garden” (back)
“Flower Power” –
Cosmetic pouch (work in progress)

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