Damasks for West Africa

Among others, the Christian Dierig GmbH markets precious damasks in West Africa. On site, these jacquard qualities are tailored into expensive boubous, the traditional menswear. A boubou is a festive clothing and a status symbol for the one to wear it. They are as expensive as a quality suit in Middle Europe. And thus customers are demanding on quality and fashion. Basic requirement is that the fabric is lustrous and soft. Brilliance and softness are achieved by the finishing, i.e. mercerizing, sanforizing and calendering. And after dyeing, the jacquard pattern must be rich in contrast. Unfashionable designs cannot be sold. And there is still more: even during calm periods it is difficult to organise shipments to and payments from West Africa. But every so often political turmoil raises. As one of only a few on the market, the Christian Dierig GmbH has the knowledge to successfully operate on this difficult market.

In West Africa, the Christian Dierig GmbH supplies distributors, who purchase the goods by piece or bale. One piece is 30 metres, a small bale equals 600 metres and a large bale comes to 900 metres. You cannot dispatch these quantities individually, but full container loads are shipped.

Dierig mainly supplies fabrics in white, dyeing is then made on-site. But dyed and coloured-woven damasks are also sold to Africa. Some customers prefer printed fabrics or what is called “men’s voile”.

White damask with strong contrasts

Most fabrics that are shipped to Africa are white. They will then on-site be dyed with strong colours or be converted into elaborate batik designs. After that they will be manually worked on until the fabric meets the customer’s requirements. The more lustrous the pattern will be after dyeing, the more the customer will be satisfied. The designs are created in Augsburg by several designers at the Christian Dierig GmbH. Hundreds of patterns are designed each year – wealthy West African people are very particular. The standard quantity on sale is 30 metres so that the customer will not have to purchase more than what is needed for his boubou.



Dyed damasks in stylish colours

In order to avoid the complex dyeing process in Africa, Dierig also supplies ready-dyed fabrics. These damasks are dyed in Germany in fair pastel colours or darker colours – just as requested by the customer. And these also need to be lustrous, high in contrast and crunching fabrics. It is achieved after dyeing by mercerizing, sanforizing and calendering. For the Augsburg-based designers coloured damasks are a welcome change, as not only the customer’s patterns are created but also matching colours are selected and combined.



Coloured-woven jacquards with African designs

African customers purchase jacquard-woven damasks – i.e. the quality that was used for grandmother’s dowry. It is characterised by woven patterns. For coloured-woven fabrics the patterns are created by using dyed warp and weft yarn. Thus the designs will turn out to be particularly rich in detail. But generating such patterns at the atelier is challenging. Depending on the weave, the dyed yarns may show up stronger or fainter, i.e. with more or less contrast or colour. The combination creates the result. By the way: the warp runs vertically, the weft horizontally.