From Seed to Sale: An Introduction to Country Cloth
Visit the Liberian fields of Lofa County, and you may come across a small plot of land where a farmer and her colleagues are harvesting cotton that will be turned into country cloth, a traditional textile spun, dyed, and woven entirely by hand.
Country cloth is made from a unique species of cotton that grows in the fields of Lofa County as well as on cotton trees throughout the nation. It is an exceptional textile that can also be found in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali—all of which we also proudly incorporate into our collections.
Although country cloth has traditionally been produced by men, our team at African Hippie is passionate about empowering women not only in Liberia but also around the world. As part of our commitment to upholding this crucial part of our mission, we are proud to employ a staff made up entirely of women farmers, weavers, tailors and artisans.
For centuries, this cotton has been lovingly woven into a beautiful textile with the use of a simple foot-treadle loom. Its natural off-white color is hand-dyed with kola and indigo, producing wonderfully deep colors and traditional striped patterns. Our artisans today have kept the traditions of the past, but added a modern touch with brighter colors and bold designs, pushing the boundaries of what we can do with this indigenous piece of art.
In addition, the painstaking process of hand-looming this cloth produces a soft, lush, organic knit that can be worn year round. Depending on the thickness of the thread, the cloth can be either lightweight for warmer weather or thick and cozy, making it the ideal knit for winter.
The true beauty of country cloth arises from the natural color variations and organic imperfections that give each textile its own signature. Adorned with the hand-embroidered style native to this region in West Africa, its use in our collections makes every garment one of a kind.
We at African Hippie are proud to uphold the time-honored process of crafting every bolt of our country cloth by hand. In this way, we are able to pay homage to a traditional piece of the past—while infusing it with fresh life and modernizing it for the present and the future.