Cameroonian clothes stylist using banana leaves to make clothes

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-05-12 13:00:00 – Cameroon

Cameroonian textile maker, tailor and stylist Solange Nana in the small western Cameroonian town of Bafoussam, is using banana leaves to make clothing. By stripping, drying and then sewing the long leaves together. Solange Nana has created garments influenced by popular local styles.

The clothes stylist is beginning a tried and tested process. Stripping dried leaves from the banana tree, she's not planning to cook them, but make clothes from them which some use for cooking, others use them for medicinal purposes.

It's a time-consuming process which begins with stripping all the leaves from tree trunks, then sorting the good ones from the bad.

The next step is to go through the leaves one by one, get rid of any that are not good. Then tan them before working with them, said Solange Nana, the couturier.

Solange works at a nearby design store, sewing decorations. It was on the suggestion of her husband, seven years ago, that she began making clothes from banana leaves.

She has previous experience making traditional straw skirts and clothing for special events being held in her community.

She got the ideas, when her husband asked her to sew using banana leaf for which he went and got some banana leaves and asked to make him a jacket out of banana. So she tanned and stitched it.

Now, Solange is thinking of creating something 'biological', something that's natural and can be worn.

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Mary Ruppert-Stroescu
Mary Ruppert-Stroescu
2 months ago

Hi, I would love to know more about the “tanning” process you use on the leaves. Can you please share?

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