CELEBRATING 170 YEARS OF VLISCO
In celebration of Vlisco’s 170th anniversary, Vintage Colette was invited to participate in their Abuja fashion show. We were given a theme for the collection and asked to represent the present day Northern Nigerian woman using Vlisco Superwax and Hollandias fabrics. We were to produce the runway collections using the Vlisco fabric we were given and not more than 20% of any other non-Vlisco fabric.
Vlisco was established in 1846 in the city of Helmond in the Netherlands. A man named Pieter Fentener van Vlissingen bought an existing textile printing factory and named it P. Fentener van Vlissingen & co., aiming to produce and sell hand printed fabrics in-and out of the Netherlands. For 170 years they influenced the fashion landscape in West and Central Africa and have developed products such as Superwax, Hollandias, and Java for generations of loyal customers which they refer to as ‘Connoisseurs of Style.’ These fabrics have been created with beautifully detailed patterns of bright, rich and bold color combinations and also treated for shrinkage at the factory, which ensure that when you wear Vlisco, you feel truly unique. Presently, the Vlisco Group’s brand portfolio consists of four brands: Vlisco, Woodin, Uniwax and GTP.
The Vintage Colette-Vlisco connection began with a family history from my grandmother down to myself at the age of 5. As a true original, the Vlisco brand has become a stable household name in almost everything that has shaped me into becoming a designer from Northern Nigeria. Weddings and other ceremonies for decades were and still are rated based on the number of Vlisco fabrics given to the bride or her family, even after childbirth. I could vividly remember so many instances where bridal gifts were returned back to the groom’s families because they did not include Vlisco fabrics when they gave the gifts to the bride and her family. Wives have valued gifts from their husbands, but a gift of Vlisco fabric was and still is paramount.
I had worked with Vlisco fabrics for the first time as a designer during the maiden edition of Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) in 2011. I could remember vividly how other designers I was competing against did not like the idea and how I was so grateful it was a fabric and design that I had been familiar with from a very young age. This, I believe provided me with so much advantage, which led to me win the competition. So here I was again five years down the line, working with Vlisco as a designer, what a satisfying feeling. I had 3 weeks to work on the collection, which was in between Eid-el_Adha and my recent Moroccan trip.
The show was great, the crowd was encouraging and the entire atmosphere was relaxing. I cannot wait for another opportunity to work with Vlisco again.