Meet The Maker
How cultures, colours and landscapes inspired African Jacquard collection
Christine Daron, founder & creative director of the home textiles company, on the ethos and history behind her luxurious collection
Who is African Jacquard?
African Jacquard is a home textiles company. We have been designing, weaving and producing a range of African-inspired products, such as bed throws, cushions, table linen, towels and kitchen linen, in the heart of Cape Town since 2014.
African Jacquard marries my heritage of luxury French home linens together with inspiration from the cultures, colours and landscapes of my travels in Africa. Having travelled all over the continent to countries such as Gabon, Congo, Angola, Burkina Faso, and now living in South Africa, my love for traditional African textiles, together with my experience in these different cultures, is apparent in the patterns and designs created at African Jacquard.
Where did it all start?
The idea of African Jacquard started with a single tea towel I bought while visiting a weaving mill in France nearly 15 years ago. The mill was weaving tea towels in many colours and French themes, and I thought this could be a great idea for Africa.
I was doing a lot of décor projects in Congo and Angola and, having lived in Gabon for 11 years, I understood the expatriate lifestyle in those countries. I knew there was a market for tea towels woven with images of popular sites to be taken home as souvenirs.
Over the next four years I learnt about Jacquard weaving, and in 2014 African Jacquard was born. One of our first clients in South Africa was Babylonstoren, a breathtaking farm in Paarl. They took a risk with us being a young company, and three months later we supplied them with over a thousand tea towels woven with their designs.
In 2018 we started developing our own collections, not just offering customisation. We developed our ‘signature look’, which combines a variety of weaving techniques, such as a waffle weave, together with African-inspired geometric designs. In doing so, we have created unique and extraordinary textiles with pattern and texture.
Our collections are inspired by the cultures, colours and landscapes seen and experienced throughout my travels in Africa, and are linked to my own story, my family’s story in Africa, and are close to my heart.
Do you still offer customisation?
Yes, it is a significant part of the business, and we have worked with game lodges, wine farms, restaurants and hotels in Southern Africa such as Angama Mara, Sabi Sabi, &Beyond, Xigera, Victoria Falls Hotel, Belmond Mount Nelson, The Silo, Zeitz Mocca, Babylonstoren, Marble, La Motte and many more.
What does Jacquard mean?
Jacquard is the surname of the French engineer Joseph-Marie Jacquard who invented the device that fits onto a loom, resulting in the Jacquard loom. During the 1800s, weaving complex patterns was labour intensive and only the French elite could afford such a luxury.
With the Jacquard invention, weaving patterns was simplified, reducing labour costs and ultimately making fabric with patterns available to everyone. I am proud to have this name join the African continent, marrying both my roots.
What are your guiding principles as a brand?
We are a company that believes in providing locally produced, high-end quality products that are made to last, and in doing so we wish to play a part in decreasing the throw-away culture and fast-fashion habits that dominate the textile industry.
We wish to influence our industry by attracting customers who desire products produced with excellence and not adequacy, consideration and not speed, and integrity, without regretful wastefulness.
We are an all-woman team and are growing day by day.
Ce que j'aime par dessus tout dans le tissage, ce sont les liens que nous tissons les uns avec les autres... What I love above all about weaving is the bonds we weave with each other...
Where can you buy African Jacquard products?
You can visit our showroom in Woodstock or our Watershed store at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. You can also visit our website, www.africanjacquard.com to shop online, and where you’ll also find a map of all the shops around the world that stock African Jacquard.