R6097/1 Shweshwe Skirt

front view of blue and white shweshwe A line wrap skirt

Shweshwe Skirt (Museum Accession Number R6097/1)

This skirt is made of shweshwe, the iconic printed cotton textile that is so popular it has become known as the denim of southern Africa. The name shweshwe is derived from King Moshoeshoe I of Lesotho (c. 1786 – 1870) who first popularised it. It is also known as German cloth after the Swiss and German settlers who imported the cloth to South Africa. The fabric is made by Da Gama, and the ‘Three Cats’ shweshwe brand logo, is stamped on the back of fabric as a mark of authenticity. Although modern shweshwe comes in a variety of bright colours, traditional blue and white designs remain incredibly popular, as is this design featuring flared skirt panels and embroidered pockets. Collected in South Africa as part of the Fashioning Africa project.

Creator: unknown

Place: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa

Date: 2014

Side view of blue and white shweshwe wrap skirt
Side view of Shweshwe Skirt showing wrap and pintuck details (Museum Accession Number R697/1)