Things we love: 1) discovering beauty in the natural world and 2) finding creative ways to design something new from something old. Our work fills us with joy and purpose. We believe with full hearts in our vision and that we may serve as a sustainable model for the fashion industry. We believe in respecting and preserving traditional artisans, their work, and the conversations they create about their cultures. While visiting Morocco on a trip last year, we discovered vintage mud cloth -- a traditional handmade fabric we're welcoming into the Res Ipsa story.
With its origins dating back to the 12th century in West Africa, mud cloth is a timeless textile for its bohemian style. We explored the process used by the makers of mud cloth to help you better understand how they create these unique, indigo cotton pieces. Read on to learn both traditional and modern uses of mud cloth around the home and how we up-cycled mud cloth pieces into a collection of one-of-a-kind loafers and sneakers.
A Brief History of West African mud cloth
West African mud cloth dates back to the 12th century. The centuries old process of mud dyeing cotton started in Mali. The origins of the word mudcloth is derived from the Bambara language and word bògòlanfini, meaning mud with cloth (Bògò - mud / Ian - with / Fini - cloth).
Traditional Processes & Practices
The process to make mud cloth is an ancient one. Narrow strips of handwoven cotton are stitched together into a whole cloth, then painted with patterns and symbols using a variety of natural dyes, including fermented river mud. As these cloths are handwoven, the thickness and weight are variable, but generally they are similar to a light blanket. Mud cloth is traditionally woven by men and dyed by women.
Traditional & Modern Uses of Mud Cloth in the Home
While not yet available online, Res Ipsa has designed mud cloth pillow cases similar to our kilim pillow cases. Mud cloth has long been used in decorating interiors with its meaningful messages and motifs etched into the cloth. From throw pillows to blankets, mud cloth is a very cool, contemporary bohemian look for your living space and it pairs masterfully with a vintage kilim or Boucherouite rug!
Res Ipsa & Mud Cloth
We believe in the heritage of mud cloth, and appreciate the beauty this vintage textile evokes. Each mud cloth is a unique creation: there is only one. We take these handmade vintage fabrics and add a durable leather sole and leather trim to create one-of-a-kind loafers that are comfortable and versatile to wear. Stylish, comfortable and versatile, Res Ipsa's mud cloth men's collection is now available online.