Growing up in the Eastern Cape my mom sewed me the most amazing cotton dresses made of shweshwe. I have fond memories of these hard-wearing cotton dresses with geometrical patterns in blue and white. Shweshwe or german print is a locally-produced fabric that is used in traditional dress within the Xhosa culture. It is a printed cotton that is made by the Da Gama factory and is traditionally blue or brown with geometric shapes. These days they have expanded their range to include some bright and beautiful colours with prints that retain the geometry of their predecessors. Shweshwe has also become quite prominent within the fashion industry in South Africa.
Noma started her business in 2015 and it gradually moved from being her second income to her primary one. She started making takkies after finding inspiration while in Kwa-Zulu Natal. She returned to the Eastern Cape and used traditional shweshwe fabric and Xhosa beading to give her items a local flavour. She produces custom accessories including necklaces, bracelets, bags, shoes (of any kind including heels) and earrings. She also upcycles your old and worn items – giving them new life. So, if you have a favourite pair of shoes with a stain on them or your wardrobe is lifeless, you could use Noma’s expertise to restyle items using fabrics and colours of your choice. Noma also does bulk orders for retail establishments.
Noma recently made a range of shweshwe items for a wedding. These included shweshwe All Stars, pumps, bow ties, hair accessories and belts. I saw the wedding pictures and the items really gave a pop of colour to the proceedings. It was also a great way to invoke a bit of Eastern Cape heritage and style within the celebrations.
Noma will be trading at the Grahamstown Morning Market every Saturday between 09.30 and 12.30. Currently, the market is situated outside the Old Gaol on Somerset Street. Pop by and discuss some ideas with her. Alternatively, check out her Facebook page for examples of her work and to get in touch.