Tisserand Dakar was set up by two very talented friends, Nawal Merabet and Houria Sammari. Their design concept store in Dakar is a treasure trove of handmade delights. We love their passion for West African handwoven fabrics and their efforts to preserve and promote them to a wider global audience (e.g. Maison & Objet in Paris and Design Joburg in South Africa). They work with about 20 craftsmen and are sustaining the livelihoods of many weavers and their families, giving a reason for these skilled artisans to preserve and pass down their skills to the next generation.

Pagne-Tissé means woven fabric. It is actually handwoven on traditional looms from the Manjak tribes of Southern Senegal and Northern Guinea. The beauty in this rich and complex weave lies not only in its look and feel, but also in knowing the exceptional amount of time it took to produce. It takes three whole days just to set up the loom, connecting the hundreds of threads to make up the intricate design, and then two weavers to manage it. An experienced weaver will take a day to weave 3-5 meters. It is a labour-intensive art-form that is becoming increasingly rare, a fading tradition that Tisserand Dakar seeks to promote and preserve with their beautiful and unique fabric lines.

"Our goal is to promote and preserve traditional West African secular craftsmanship thorough a socially responsible operation"

Tisserand Dakar

"We fell in love with the colourful variety of fabric textures and prints, but were drawn most of all to the richness of the traditionally handwoven pagne tisse, a fabric woven by the Manjac tribes of Southern Senegal and Northern Guinea"

Tisserand Dakar
Tisserand Dakar uses sustainably sourced materials across their trade network working with natural textiles -linen, cotton, wood and leather - with artisans not only in Senegal but also in Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. Common to all is the use of ancient techniques passed down through generations - techniques that are becoming increasingly rare in times of mass production. In their studio you find a community of craftsman with skills in weaving, leatherwork, wood-work, beading, and tailoring. Their creative textile designs, attention to detail and use of quality materials across their homewares and accessories range are exceptional. Unfortunately weaving in West Africa has long been associated with child labour. Tisserand Dakar has a strict policy of employing adult weavers only to support their families. Their fabrics are child labour free and we feel very honoured to showcase a sample collection from their range.

If you see anything you like on their instagram page @tisserand.dakar, please get in touch at info@emmela.co.uk and we would be pleased to include it in our next shipment.