As a little boy I lived the first four years of my life in Accra, Ghana | Africa. Of course there’s not a lot I remember about that period, but still there are some very vivid memories. Along with those memories there is quite some 8 mm film footage left along with lots of slides my dad took. And one thing I remember from all the times I’ve watched all this footage is those bright and beautiful colored fabrics, markets and pigments.
I don’t remember how old I was, but I do recall being stunned when asking my mam about those fabrics and she told me that they were Dutch fabrics. Even more so that they came from a company called Vlisco in Helmond, near Eindhoven which was my hometown at that time. I was sort of proud, that such amazing Dutch fabrics with their characteristic designs were sold and worn in Africa.
Fabric leftovers to enrich an interior
Well fast forward some 50 years and once again I’m amazed by these same fabrics from Vlisco but in a whole new way. During the Dutch Design Week 2015 I came across design by Dutch designer Simone Post who upcycled fabric leftovers by Vlisco into an interior pieces collection called ‘Vlisco Recycled‘.
Over 160 years ago this company started producing fabric with that distinctive African print, very popular in Central and West Africa. According to Vlisco: “Our fabrics became known as ‘Wax Hollandais‘, referring to their country of origin and the wax used to give their unique visual appeal.”
The production is a well kept secret and unique in the world. One thing we do know is that the wax fabric goes through 27 treatments both by machine and by hand and takes two weeks to produce.
Vlisco’s fabrics are well known for their colorful aesthetics and high quality. That’s why Simone Post came up with the idea for her graduation project to give new life to these intriguing leftovers by designing a series of interior products to enrich an interior. She used techniques like folding and laser cutting to create patterned cloth panels and wound other leftovers into circular rugs and seat covers.
“Being a big fan of the Vlisco prints, I wanted the end products to show the beautiful quality of Vlisco’s cloth with its deep and bold colours and colour combinations. I felt it was very important that the way the material was going to be treated should create new application possibilities. I wanted to work with the textiles in such a way that my end products would have properties very different from the originals.”
Photos © Simone Post
In December 2014 Simone graduated with honor [Cum Laude] and she is one of the winners of the Keep an Eye Grant for graduate students at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2015.
This talented young designer is taking discarded fabrics to a whole new level. And as often happens with upcycling, creating a product with a special story.