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What makes Shweshwe so special?

August 12, 2021

Lesedi Style Shweshwe Fabric

Shweshwe is a printed dyed cotton fabric that has become synonymous with South African textiles. Originally a dyed in a distinctive indigo colour, the fabric is now made in a variety of bright, vibrant colours and unique intricate geometric patterns.

The name Shweshwe or Seshweshwe is thought to be derived from Lesotho’s King Moshoeshoe as he was gifted with the fabric by French missionaries in the 1840’s and subsequently it became very popular to wear.

Since King Moshoeshoe’s time, Seshweshwe fabric has become a staple of traditional African clothing in that is used to make traditional dresses, skirts, aprons and outfits to be worn by newly married Xhosa women, known as Makotis as well as married Sotho and Xhosa women.

In recent years its become more visible in contemporary South African design.  At Lesedi Style we make use of this 100% cotton fabric to bring a new African aesthetic to the world of kids clothing. Our range of girls and boys brings together traditional Shweshwe fabrics and the best of contemporary fashion. 

Just a quick note on how to care for your handmade LESEDI items, be sure to wash each item in cold water on the delicate cycle and with similar colours. The Seshweshwe material will become softer with every wash.