There is a strong tradition in Africa of fabrics and textiles being used to tell stories, commemorate important events or even communicate everyday messages. For example different designs and motifs of West African Ankara represent different poems or traditional tales that are linked to the fabric and are reflected in the individual names of different designs. In East Africa the very popular Kanga fabric also carries a long tradition of telling stories or spreading messages, whether it be to increase awareness of something like AIDs, support a political group or a proverb with a lot of cultural meaning.
Inspired by this long tradition of politically and religiously commemorative cloths Shine Shine fabrics are a fun, contemporary, and more urban take on these clothes. Working with fabric and graphic designer Heidi Chisholm, Shine Shine has developed a distinctive tongue’n'cheek style.
The fabrics are produced in Cape Town, where the company is based, using a rotary printing technique. Customers have a choice of cotton, oilcloth or upholstery linen base fabric (cotton sourced from Zimbabwe), a collection of 7 different designs in a variety of playful colour schemes and end products ranging from cushions and aprons to bags and purses. Shine Shine fabrics have found their way into many different environments including collections by Fashion designer Autumn Adeigbo, the pop up store of African shoe company, Sawa shoes and even on to the stage with Pam Ngwabeni in the play “Ncamisa! Kiss the women” a play highlighting the struggles of Lesbians in South Africa by Peter Hayes.
In an email interview Tracy Rushmere, founder of Shine Shine, explained that one of the biggest challenges the company has faced is the struggling South African textile industry, with mills and printers closing sourcing locally is becoming more and more difficult. Shine Shine also produce non-textile products with their designs such as tin trays, cork place mats and is starting to print on neoprene to make computer bags and the like and are hoping to diversify even more in the future.
Read more about the farbic here: http://www.shineshine.co.za
And the designer here: http://www.heidichisholm.com