African textile and high end fashion

Silver Bark Cloth

Exciting times here at Ethnic Supplies. A little over a year I was introduced to an Artist in Uganda his name is Fred Mutebi. Fred  works with wood and is passionate about bark cloth.  This is a fabric native to Uganda and was historically used to produce clothing for Kings and queens until the introduction of cotton. I had a conversation with Fred about his work with bark cloth producers and here is what he had to say- bark cloth is important in the economic empowerment of local communities


The challenge for me was to find designers here in the west who would be willing to explore the use of this unknown but sustainable fabric, specifically how it can be incorporated into main stream fashion. I approached a few Art and Fashion colleges and Karen Rothwell a Student from Central St Martins agreed to take up the challenge

Writing on Africa on the Blog– Karen takes us through how she works with this complex fabric to develop interesting designs  and in a follow up post she presents some stunning African style jewellery using mostly the pale bark cloth



Karen is show casing her final year work at

Room 109, 1st floor

Central St Martins

University of the Arts London

Southampton Row


on the following dates and times- do call in and take a look for yourself

Saturday 18 June                                 12.00 – 18.00

Sunday 19 June                                   closed

Monday 20 – Wednesday 22  June          12.00 – 20.00

Thursday 23 June                                 12.00 – 18.00

I am incredibly excited about Karen’s work and can’t wait for it to get into mainstream retail outlets



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