#9 CELMATIQUE IN AFRIQUE: INSIDE THE WORLD OF VLISCO

Have you always wondered how all the beautiful Vlisco fabrics are made? Well I have been curious for a very long time (since my mom also works for the company). And luckily I was invited to visit the factory yesterday. It was beyond inspiring and amazing at the same time.

Ring a bell
Let’s start with a little background information: The Vlisco group consists of four fashion textile brands, specialized in establishing African prints: Vlisco, Woodin, Uniwax and GTP. Vlisco is the premium brand. My mother has been working for Woodin for a while now. Woodin is the fast-fashion, textile and Ready to Wear brand. Vlisco’s heritage is like no other. Since 1846 (!) they have been creating unique fabrics in Holland that have influenced the African fashion landscape, using their well-known Wax Hollandais.

WEARING CLOTHES IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST ABOUT COVERING YOUR BODY. IT IS A FORM OF INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND VLISCO COMMUNICATES LIKE NO OTHER BRAND. – VLISCO

Intro
Okay, back to the story: After a 30 minute drive from Spintex to Tema, Charles’s mother and I arrived at the factory. We were kindly welcomed by Delali, the woman my mother introduced me to earlier via e-mail. Delali is the Ready to Wear sourcing manager of Woodin. After having a nice conversation and a short meeting, the tour in the factory was ready to begin.

From scratch
What amazes me right away is the fact that we could see the process from scratch. Starting from raw cotton to a high quality fabric or even a shirt, bag or blouse. Our tour guide explained to us that GTP has a few different types: Adepa one and two, Safoa and NuStyle. The difference between these types is basically the quality of the fabric. For example: Adepa is mainly used for the traditional Vlisco clothes, which is waxed and printed on the front and backside of the fabric. It’s about high quality without the high maintenance. NuStyle is the newest of all, and is not always waxed, but printed and dyed in a different way.

Bleaching, drying, dyeing and printing
Every process, from bleaching to printing, is done in the factory. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures in every area, but almost every process has been captured! Well, except the waxing. My mother told me that double waxing can only be done in the factory in the Netherlands. ‘But maybe we can also visit the factory when you’re back in Holland’ – Ahhhh yes mother!

I want to thank Delali and our tour guide for this amazing experience, my mother for her effort to get me in touch with Vlisco, Vlisco and Woodin itself and ofcourse Jackie for joining me!

The office

The office

From scratch

From scratch

Fluffs are being burned

Fluffs are being burned

The cotton gets a chemical and water-based treatment

The cotton gets a chemical and water-based treatment

Charles's mom discovering

Charles’s mom discovering

The cotton is being bleached in this machine.

The cotton is being bleached in this machine.

Bleached cotton!

Bleached cotton!

If you take a good look, you can see that the cotton on the front is still brown. In the back it's (bleached) white.

If you take a good look, you can see that the cotton on the front is still brown. In the back it’s (bleached) white.

Sweaty me in the factory ieh. Hahah

Sweaty me in the factory ieh. Hahah

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Dyeing!

Dyeing!

Notice the stamp is he using

Notice the stamp he is using

One of the favorite shots I took this day. These men are working hard.

One of the favorite shots I took this day. These men are working hard.

Notice all the stamps Vlisco is using .. WOW

Notice all the stamps Vlisco is using .. WOW

The color!

The color!

Safoa styles: they all consist of one color.

Safoa styles: they all consist of one color.

Amazing

Amazing

Vlisco also has unicolored fabric

Vlisco also has unicolored fabric

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Ready for packaging

Ready for packaging

I was so astonished by this.. These are the copper tupes which are used for the prints. YES, they engrave every print in the copper and are rolled on the fabric.

I was so astonished by this.. These are the copper tupes which are used for the prints. YES, they engrave every print in the copper and are rolled on the fabric.

Copper tubes with engraving

Copper tubes with engraving

The proces where the engraving takes place

The proces where the engraving takes place

More engraved copper tubes

More engraved copper tubes

Vlisco archive: these are samples of all the prints EVER made. Isn't this amaaaazing?!

Vlisco archive: these are samples of all the prints EVER made. Isn’t this amaaaazing?!

(Sorry for the blurred look ..)

(Sorry for the blurred look ..)

The seamsters from the classic Woodin shirts.

The seamsters from the classic Woodin shirts.

The ladies behind Vlisco Pret-a-Porter. If you visit a Vlisco boutique and ask them to make you a Ready to Wear piece, these are the ladies that make that happen!

The ladies behind Vlisco Pret-a-Porter. If you visit a Vlisco boutique and ask them to make you a Ready to Wear piece, these are the ladies that make that happen!

4 thoughts on “#9 CELMATIQUE IN AFRIQUE: INSIDE THE WORLD OF VLISCO

  1. Celeste, It was an eye opener for me. Thank you for sharing your day with me, it was a pleasure and seeing all that beautiful fabric ;-)!! GTP a well run organisation in Ghana. I was really impressed.

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