Here in Britain, creating our own clothes, cushion covers, quilts, table cloths and picnic blankets are some of our primary forms of haberdashery. We create our own items so that they’re personalised, special and a physical representation of our creativity, passion or skill rather than buying something that is either one of thousands of clones, or is the creation of someone else. We could buy any of these items pretty much anywhere but us haberdashery enthusiasts choose to do them ourselves each for different reasons.
However, in other places around the world that aren’t so heavily capitalised and access to the consumer market is more limited or even non-existent, creating your own possessions is a matter of necessity.
We’ve been interested to see exactly what haberdashery looks like around the rest of the world; what people make out of fabric and materials and what it means to them.
So without furtherado, these were some of our favourite findings:
Maasai Blanket aka ‘Shuka Cloth’
Affectionately known as the “African blanket”, it is worn by the Maasai people of East Africa. This tribe live in Tanzania and Kenya with a population of around 1.5 million and are renowned for their strong warriorship. The Massai Blanket is a representation of their tribe and is worn as an item of clothing, usually accompanied by bright beads and blue accessories.
Traditional Chinese Shoes
Whilst the traditional method of creating shoes in China has evolved in the majority of the country from handmade, delicate silk shoes to the more heavily manufactured system now associated with China’s production line, some areas still rely heavily on creating their own clothing.
These traditional Chinese shoes still worn for festivities in across the country, and as day to day attire in less developed areas.
First Nation Canadians
Indigenous Canadians, much like many other native peoples, are still relatively self sufficient in many ways. First Nation Canadians are masters in hand making their own clothes - especially traditional clothing such as headdresses and extra warm coats. They also make blankets out of animal skin that became staple items in many households. Traditionally, all possessions were made by materials to hand but as more aboriginal people have integrated with the rest of Canada, they have access to more conventional materials in which they create items from.
Used as a traditional and somewhat stereotypical item of clothing, the poncho is a huge money spinner for the Peruvians. Crafted primarily from alpaca wool, ponchos are beautiful and intricate items of clothing that are used for decorative purposes in households too. Peruvian people use ponchos as functional and practical daily items of clothing; they also look pretty awesome too!
Turkish Souks and the Grand Bazaar
Carpets, rugs, glass lanterns and handbags are just a small handful of the beautiful handmade haberdashery products being sold on the streets and in the markets of Turkey. Whilst these are mostly sold to tourists, by walking into houses and establishments around the country, you will see traditional carpets, rugs and lanterns adorning buildings’ interiors used in the way tradition intended. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the country's most famous market where you will find thousands and thousands of handmade Turkish items for purchase, showing off the country's talent and ability to create beautiful products from scratch.