Textiles: African Textiles Reimagined

Toghal [Africa Inspired]

Table Napkins - Toghal

[Image credit: Table Napkins – Toghal]

Yesterday I visited Clerkenwell Design Week and spent a few leisurely hours absorbed in the world of cutting-edge contemporary design. There I met Toghal, a new textile brand inspired by Africa’s rich textile heritage. Toghal was started in December 2013 by friends Dayo and Marta. Dayo, who is originally from the Gambia, and Marta, from the Czech Republic, first met whilst both living in Kenya and now both reside in the UK, bringing with them a love for Africa’s traditional design and craft cultures.

Kitchen Linens - Toghal

[Image credit: Kitchen – Toghal]

Toghal means ‘to sit’ in Wolof, the language spoken in The Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania; and Dayo and Marta have reinterpreted the meaning to reflect ‘sitting comfortably in your home’, the place where their textiles will find a home. Toghal’s textiles are alive with complementary patterns, colours and textures that get translated into stylish home furnishings and accessories collections including cushions, table cloths, and lampshades; kitchen linens like oven gloves, aprons; and personal accessories like tote bags and the elegant Mbuti inspired umbrellas. The designs are printed onto natural fabrics like cotton or linen and having been ‘made’ to undergo the cushion huggability test, I can vouch that they are wonderfully plump and best of all, given my allergy to feathers, filled with hypo-allergenic hollow fibre inners.

Umbrella - Toghal

[Image credit: Mbuti pattern, Umbrella – Toghal]

Through their designs, Dayo and Marta seek to share the back-stories and places from where the design inspirations originate from, paying homage to the ‘nameless African artists and artisans [who] have kept their heritage traditions going from generation to generation’, but are often unacknowledged for their efforts. Toghal’s debut textile collections introduce; Riverbed, a fluid design based on the abstract paintings the Mbuti women from the Congo create on barkcloth; the linear patterns and markings on Vine taken from Nigeria’s aso-oke strip weaving techniques; and the haphazard shapes that make up the Twigs design, reminiscent of appliquéd Kuba cloth from the Congo.

Obsidian Tracks Cushion,  Sunset Lampshade - Toghal

[Image credit: left, Obsidian Tracks Cushion; right, Sunset Lampshade – Toghal]

To discover more of Toghal’s products, and to see how traditional African textiles have been reinterpreted for contemporary living, visit their website.

Additional details:
Togahl products priced from: £9-£192
For further information about Toghal, and to purchase visit: http://toghal.com
For further information about Clerkenwell Design Week visit: www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com

[Image credits: The images shown belong to: Toghal. If downloaded and used elsewhere must be credited accordingly]

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