Maxim Guy Explores Traditional Batik Techniques on the Ivory Coast

models showing off the ddoo logo and skirts

Maxim Guy, ddoo collective designer, had a dream. Living and working in Paris since 1997, he wanted to go back to his native Ivory Coast to collaborate with the local craftsmen, who still retain knowledge of traditional printing techniques. Now we shall follow in his steps, searching for the strong powers of collective memory.

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Grand Bassam is a beautiful town in the southeastern Ivory Coast. It was the French colonial capital city from 1893 to 1896, and it still retains some imposing colonial buildings, now declared UNESCO patrimony and restored for the joy of tourists. In Grand Bassam’s historical quarter a brand new Craft Centre has been established, hosting a thriving artisan community.

Mamadou Touré a textile printer in the Ivory Coast

Here Maxim came to meet a gentleman he enormously admires, Mamadou Touré, for his ability to manipulate pigments and create colour harmonies.

block printing technique onto silk fabric

Mamadou, a master of textile printing by traditional methods, works in the open air, listening to the radio and using very simple tools, surrounded by equally skilled and creative craftsmen who help and support each other.

images of the workshop on the Ivory Coast

Touré’s batik is obtained by applying wax-resisting dye to the cloth. As you can see in the pictures, the wax is first applied using a wooden block stamp, fixing a pattern mirror image. The wax repels dyes, allowing Touré to shade his designs by soaking the cloth in the dyeing pigments mix. After having dried in the sun, the cloth is finally washed in boiling water, in order to remove the wax and reveal the patterns. Mamadou repeats the operation until the desired result is achieved. Do not think this is an easy job: the artist’s ability and originality lies in his masterful control of his tools and methods.

batik patterns created on the Ivory Coast for ddoo collective

We at ddoo collective thought long and hard on how best to showcase Touré’s highly skilled craft and colour intuition. In a daring association, we decided that the most western of ddoo designs, the shorts, when made in Chinese silk and printed using long-established African techniques, would create the best example of the synergy of cultures and tradition we aspire to. For ddoo collective, Mamadou Touré has produced a limited edition of exceptional silk shorts and shawls printed in batik, each one different from the other and each unique in its colours and patterns. With only 40 pieces created in total, each one tells it’s own story through the fabric.

batik shorts

Textile and fabric design have always been important in African society as a mean to express history, story telling and ultimately cultural identity. Working with Mamadou Touré, we want to be part of a cultural exchange which goes beyond “ethnic clothing”, generating appreciation and support for cherished crafts.

Final pair of batik printed shorts for ddoo collective

These stunning shorts and shawls are now available exclusively from our pop-up shop at 14 Smiths Court, Soho. We look forward to welcoming you into our showroom to share your travel stories and our own on the beautiful batiks, as well as our other luxury silk travel clothing collections. Come along and purchase your very own, limited edition, unique batik shorts, skirts and shawls: they are only available until the 31st of July – or while stocks last, so be sure to visit us very soon!