interview with Donna Allin – African Jacquard General Manager
Please let us know more about African Jacquard company, history and success story .
Founded in 2014 by French born owner and Creative Director, Christine Daron, African Jacquard marries her heritage of luxury French home linens woven in the style of Jacquard, in the warm colours of Africa.
This story began when Christine travelled to Africa 35 years ago. Now residing in South Africa, and having travelled all over the Continent to countries such as Gabon, Congo, Angola, and Burkina Faso, her first-hand experience in these different design cultures is apparent in the patterns and designs created at African Jacquard.
Using the traditional French Jacquard technique, and natural fibers such as French Linen and African Cotton, African Jacquard combines a variety of weaving styles, such as our signature waffle weave, together with traditional African geometric designs to develop unique and extraordinary textiles.
Our ethos is to produce locally woven, top quality homeware products, and our mission is to bring delight to the world through the quality and grandeur of their textiles.
Which kind of products you produce in African Jacquard? What is your products groups and standards?
We produce a vast range of homeware textiles, such as blankets, bed throws, cushion covers, table linen, kitchen linen and towels.
Our collections are inspired by the cultures, colours and landscapes throughout Africa, such as wildlife spoor prints and the Ndebele house patterns of South Africa. Our popular Bogolan Collection, woven with 100% French linen is inspired by the designs found in the Bogolan Mud Cloth of Mali in West Africa. Our bold & colourful Kuba Collction, woven with 100% African Cotton is inspired by the Kuba designs found in the Congolese Raffia fabric which is a handwoven cloth traditionally made from Raffia palm trees. Our latest Metallic Collection, is inspired by the alluring colours of precious metals and African wildlife.
How many percent of your products sell in local market and how many percent send to international export markets?
70 % in the local market and 30% in the international export market
How do you evaluate textile industry in South Africa ?
South Africa once had a booming textile industry, creating employment, of which a huge percentage was for woman. The industry faced dire competition with the increase of imports specifically from Asia. The performance of the industry over the years has varied despite government support programmes to boost this industry.
What do you think about future of the textile and garment industry in Africa?
The South African government continues to prioritize the textile industry when it comes to support programs and government funding, however due to the Covid -19 pandemic most government programs and incentives have been put on hold.
Many small textile companies in South Africa rely on these programs for market access, so without these programs running many companies cannot maximize on the value that they offer and gain access to international markets.
We are hopeful that these programs will start running again next year, and we are even more hopeful that the textile industry in South Africa will thrive in the future.
Today sustainability and green products are one of the most important subjects in the textile industry. why sustainability in textile is import? What about African Jacquard sustainability policy?
The textile industry is known for consuming a lot of energy and water and natural resources hence the demand for sustainably produced textiles. Whist African Jacquard may not currently be in the position to alter our production process, we do our best to produce as little waste as possible. All of our fabrics are woven specifically in size to the product that will be made from them, leaving little waste, and the little waste we do produce, we use as a part of our packaging and branding.
Our ethos is to produce top quality products which are made to last. We wish to play apart in decreasing the throw away culture and fast fashion habits that dominate the textile industry. We hope to increase mindfulness on where one’s money is spent and to encourage spending money on products for the long term.