Our Unique Handcrafted Design Process

A Unique Hand-Made Process

1. First, Vailet will cut our GMO-free cotton into the dimensions of the finished product using scissors, a ruler and a very accurate eye!

2. Then, one of our starchers will mix the correct ratio of water and flour together to create the starch we use to draw our designs.

3. The cotton is soaked in water and laid out on the work bench where one of our starchers draws a pattern onto the fabric (a highly skilled technique taking years to perfect).

4. Whilst the textile is hung up to dry in the hot African sun, Richard - our Paint Mixer – mixes the colours by hand, using primary pigments and a base emulsion to match by eye to swatches created by our designer. We use water-based, non-hazardous and non-toxic paints sourced from South Africa that are safe for both people and the environment.

5. The textile is now ready to be brought to life by one of our skilled painters, balancing the colours on the product in a unique combination each time.

6. Products are then baked in an industrial oven at 155 degrees Celsius, which makes the textiles colour fast & fully washable.

7. The textile is given to Stella who scrapes off the softened starch, revealing the intricate design beneath. She washes it and hangs it up to dry in the African sun once more!

8. Finally, it is sewn into a finished product and voila, it’s complete and packed away for export or transferred to Tribal’s own shop.

Besides being unique in terms of technique, our hand-painted process is also thoughtfully sustainable. Each of our products is made by hand with respect for the environment and people. From design to production, we minimise our environmental impact by sourcing locally, using sustainable materials, and repurposing waste. 

Mixing The Starch - Tribal Textiles Process
Priscilla Starching - Tribal Textiles Process
Hand-Painting the Fabric
Drying the Fabrics
Scraping the Starch - Tribal Textiles Process
Washing the Fabrics - Tribal Textiles Process
Baking in the Oven - Tribal Textiles Process
Sewing - Tribal Textiles Process