As part of the sustainable materials, the Ugandan designer Cameron Williams, winner of the Vogue Talents award during the’2020 edition of ITS, uses an ancient Ugandan fabric to make accessories and some of the garments of his brand Nuba. To better understand the whole project we talked to Williams and here you will find what he told us.
“Our brand intends to pursue its philosophy through collaborations with charities to bring about change, helping communities in Africa and the Caribbean. The fashion industry must reduce its impact on the environment in the textile supply chain, and control waste. “- explains Cameron Williams. L’Ugandan Bark Cloth, a fabric obtained from the bark of a particular tree, the mutuba, is an ancient African fabric that we support thanks to our products. A fabric that in Ugandan culture is traditionally used in ceremonies and of which we have traces since 1200. It is biodegradable, long lasting, light, for its processing no chemicals are used. We have chosen this distinctive fabric for our bags, using it for the main structure, and weaving it to make strong rope handles. Other techniques include hand bleaching and dyeing in particular colors, which we use for both accessories and clothing. I believe that looking at ancient textile techniques can help us take steps forward to find alternatives to fabrics that are used in fashion and decrease their impact along with the waste that the sector produces. We collaborate with organizations and communities that share our cause to raise awareness with each other about the economic and environmental potential of this approach of local communities working with the know-how of these textile practices and the fashion and textile industry in broad sense that Ugandan Bark Cloth and other traditional fabrics could use. The NUBA brand carries on notions of culture and tradition through sculptural clothes and accessories created with materials such as Bark Cloth, ideal for creating this type of structural forms “.
“For this project we collaborated with the charity Hands Up for Uganda to include Ugandan Bark Cloth in my collections. Purchase large quantities of Bark Cloth from this charity, which contributes to infrastructure development in the Kisaabwa community. The Bark Cloth we use is typical of this region. Through the charity, I started collaborating with Barktex Germany, with which I now work in the same way to purchase different varieties of Bark Cloth. We recently organized an event with Fashion Open Studio, and discussed with Fashion Revolution Uganda and IGC Fashion designer Ak Ibrahim about the importance of using traditional local fabrics in the fashion industry as true sustainable materials. We talked about the “bark fabric” of Uganda that was used and was very important even before the colonization, when it was banned and underestimated during this period, and when then the use of the fabric was again liberalized under a new leadership at the end of this phase. By advocating the use of Uganda’s Bark Cloth, but also other indigenous fabrics from various African regions and other developing nations around the world, local ethnic groups can hold authorship and gains on their culture and solidify the their economic stability. “
“I also started a collaboration between NUBA and theAraba Scott Children’s Foundation, working with the children of St. Thomas, Jamaica, to tell their stories and their hopes for the future. I have shared some of my design research with the foundation, and the children will create artwork in the style of icons from Benin, South Africa, Congo and many more. Their designs will be used as a basis to create the prints and garments for the next collection, and all proceeds from the sales of these items will go to charity. My family is originally from St. Thomas, Jamaica, so I thought this project would be an honest way to share my Jamaican identity and experiences in their truest light, and to introduce children to the cultural heritage of the Jamaican Islands. their African origins. “