In a strain of fashion not short of colourful fabrics, brash garments and eye-popping designs, George fabric stands out as one of the most vibrant textiles of all. Though this lushly coloured material, with its delicate embroidery and golden textures, is historically associated with society’s wealthiest, now people from all strata’s of West African society and beyond are wearing George.
Yet it still retains in its glittering look that hint of the luxurious and that touch of the exclusive that for decades made it a favourite of many African kings and queens.
The history of George
George fabric comes entirely from viscose. This semi-synthetic fibre is created when wood pulp is dissolved before being refined into a filament. Though similar to cotton in its look and texture, it has a deeper softness against the skin. It was first developed in France by the industrialist Hilaire de Chardonnet (who also invented artificial silk). Export to Africa began in 1893, where tailors began to adopt it into their high-end clothing lines.
The upper class fashionistas of the time were impressed and it quickly found favour as the rich African’s material of choice for a big social event. Today, much of the world’s George fabric is sourced from India, though the vast majority finds its way to the shops and market stalls of Africa.
Clothing as a symbol of optimism
With its bright gold colours and startling vibrancy, it is little wonder that George fabric is so popular. It seems a celebration and a declaration of positivity, one that speaks to the optimism inherent in modern West Africa. The strands of gold that are laced through a George fabric piece give it a shimmering edge, whether it is worn as a head wrap, a skirt or a shirt.
Due to its associations with gaiety and hopefulness, it is unsurprising to find George fabric proudly displayed in the outfits of revellers at many African weddings.
Here at Empire Textiles, we have a huge selection of George fabrics from which you can choose. If you want to add the incandescent flair of African style to your outfit, browse our online store today.