I’m pretty much a newbie when it comes to wearing Senegalese ensembles. I’ve done it for special occasions and I wear wax prints often, but not usually the full deal from head to toe. But I’m getting more into it so decided to take the plunge.
My friend and I went fabric shopping when the Foire (FIDAK) was in town in December. After a good bit of looking and debating, I decided on this hand tie-dyed thioup fabric from the town of Matam in eastern Senegal. The vendor was the woman who made it, so she was able to tell me how it’s done and a bit of the fabric’s story, which I loved.
In the end, we each bought six meters of thioup and paid 12,000cfa and 14,000cfa for them (about $25-30).
The next step was to decide what to have made. Much harder than it sounds! My friend had hers made into some really cute pants, a flowy wrap-skirt and some headbands. Normally I would have done something similar, but I really wanted to try for a Senegalese ensemble. I asked a friend for advice and she suggested a ‘boubou kepp‘ which is a simply cut robe worn over a wrap skirt with a head scarf.
There are several advantages to this style:
- The simple cut keeps the focus on the fabric and any embroidery you have added.
- It works well for a maternity style and can be altered later, including turning the wrap skirt into pants.
- If you get bored with it, you can have it remade into another style because the fabric is still mostly intact!
So I gave the fabric to my tailor with a budget of 15,000cfa (about $30) and he worked his magic! I now have an outfit that makes me feel like an African Queen.