SS ’20 The Raffia Weave: From the Designer’s Desk

While sustainable and ethical are clearly the call of the season, there’s a new fabric on the ramps – Raffia.

An African inspiration for this Spring, this trend was not just for clothing, but all accessories too! Giving it a head-to-toe look, Oscar de la Renta added bags and dresses with floral patterns while Dolce and Gabbana dyed the fabric and created dresses and skirts. Raffia took a turn this season from its conventional methods and adopted a modern silhouette.

While this fabric trend was moving all across the ramps and red carpets, our designer too, was feeling inspired. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes!

What is this material exactly?

Raffia material basically comes from the Raffia palm leaves found in the Madagascar region. These leaves are first dried, created into strands and woven together to make a fabric. Raffia is also known as Kuba clothing in Africa and was traditionally woven with a basketweave. However, this time around, this fabric includes different forms like fringes, florals etc. giving it a modernised look.

Woman weaving Raffia
Raffia pattern

What does this material depict?

This season, Raffia became a significant trend to explore. Given its handcrafted, Earthy look and eco-friendly origins and the fact that sustainability was a big take for SS20, this fabric came into the spotlight. Raffia in Africa was worn by the elite class as it requires a specific amount of maintenance and also a royal feel to it. So to sum it down, the material depicts a connection between three segments – handicraft, sustainability and royalty.

What did this trend represent according to you?

Spring Summer 2020 gave us a critical outlook that eco-conscious is the way forward. This shift was evident when all the major designers like Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, and Marine Serre, to name a few, showcased their collections. Although this fashion trend used to symbolise a class in the society, this season it resonated with a rich Earthy vibe, while being eco-friendly.

Instagram @Dior

What was the thought process behind your jewellery?

The Raffia feel and look has been simplified in this season to give it a modern look. The ramp collections don’t have its traditional form but have been made in a simplified format. It wasn’t just about interlocked designs or intricacy, but more about simplicity and minimalism.

In the jewellery too, I’ve tried to capture the same simplified form of the Raffia weave. With linear lines and flow, I’ve tried to stay true to the feel and essence of Raffia.

Mood board

What do you think is the theme for SS20?

Well, this season is a lot of things! Sustainability, recycling, handwork, the 70s and whatnot! It’s a mix of classics in a new format and reviving the techniques of the old. I think that this season is focusing more on handicrafts. Fashion is changing and is focusing on uplifting all the crafts and their artisans. Also, doing so in an eco-friendly process. Take Raffia, for example, this fabric cannot be made with machines. It is a handicraft process, and although it is time-consuming, all the weaves and patterns come out differently. Depending on the artisans’ style.

Now isn’t That both unique and eco-friendly?

Instagram @Dolcegabbana

Check out the Raffia Collection here!

SS ’20 The Raffia Weave: From the Designer’s Desk
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SS ’20 The Raffia Weave: From the Designer’s Desk
While the Raffia fabric trend was moving all across the ramps and red carpets, our designer too was feeling inspired. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes!
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