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African Inspirations

Be inspired by our customers' creations

The African Fabric Shop is a small, fair trade business dealing in relatively obscure, specialist products: African fabrics and beads. (Our Bolga baskets are a bit more main stream, of course).

So we're pretty astounded and very delighted to have such a loyal, interesting and creative following, here online, in person at textile events and at our Shop Open Days.

In this section of the website we showcase the creative work of our customers, showing you how you can use African fabrics in your own creative work - from quiltmaking to dressmaking to home decor.

African Decor

In case you haven't worked this out yet: we love African textiles, fabrics, crafts and artefacts. After 35 years tramping around Africa, it's kind of what you'd expect, n'est-ce pas?

Well guess what? Our customers around the world love African stuff as well.

On our African Decor page, we feature images and stories about how you can enhance your living space with a touch of Africa.

Be inspired: African Decor

Mud cloth upholstered stool © Mandy Cuss

African Fashion

Many of Africa's most important traditions are rooted in textiles. Historically at least, the message was clear: 'You are what you wear.'

Your cloth - maybe a rich handwoven Kente, maybe an elaborately embroidered Agbada - told everyone who you are and your status in the community.

That’s still happening today. We call it 'fashion'.

With that in mind, on our African Fashion page we show you African fabrics as clothing. Enjoy.

Be inspired: African Fashion

African wax print with vintage Kente strip cloth belt

Quilts and Crafts

Magie made her first proper quilt in the 80s ‘on the road’ in Africa. That was the beginning of her passion for African fabrics. Since then she’s travelled in 34 of Africa’s 54 countries and shared her knowledge and enthusiasm through The African Fabric Shop.

Over the years, that enthusiasm has rubbed off. Customers from all over the world - many of them now good friends as well - use our African fabrics in their creations.

Be inspired: Quilts and Crafts

African Calliope © Magie Relph

African Textile Stories

We travel a lot in Africa, many weeks per year. Of course, we're buying - always searching for those irresistable fabrics, the ones we know you'll love.

At the same time, we're researching and documenting - constantly asking questions and trying to fill in the knowledge gaps.

The answers we uncover often find their way into print with various magazines.

Be inspired: our African Textile Stories

Oh - and beads as well.

Waiting for breakfast: Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire

Leaving the Accra Quilt Show by Helen Conway 

Leaving the Accra Quilt Show Helen ConwayLeaving the Accra Quilt Show © Helen Conway
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