Shwe: The Wearable Library

Julia é brasileira e depois de morar em diversas partes do mundo, se mudou para Durban, na África do Sul. Tentando ser útil para seu entorno, lançou uma marca social de roupas onde, junto com a universidade local, treina mulheres em situações de risco ou vulnerabilidade a costurarem e abrirem seus próprios negócios. O resultado chama-se Shwe: The Wearable Library, cujas peças são feitas com o maior cuidado e assinadas pelas mulheres que as fizeram, sempre no tecido local, chamado ShweShwe- 100% algodão.

“What if your dress, jacket, or cardigan could speak? What if they could tell you the stories they were privy to in the places they were made? What if you could ‘meet’ the people who made them?

“Shwe: The Wearable Library” comes from the idea that knitting/crochet circles and sewing groups are typically social spaces for learning and story telling, usually populated by woman, but not exclusively so. The items made in these ‘circles’ are privy to many stories and ideas that most of us never get to hear.

We want to open up a conversation with the extraordinary people who made them. 

We live in a time when everything is disposable, and carries an almost weightless history, as if  what we buy was made in a vacuum. When in reality, we know there are real people with real challenges, behind the making of everything we use. Essentially we want to make and market clothing that not only dresses people, but also creates social exchanges between producer and consumer, and reveals the vivid context of the life worlds that people experience daily in Durban. The Wearable Library Project creates garments that symbolically carry within their threads the stories and memories of woman in the city of Durban who create them.

We work with three different organisations that support vulnerable women in the city. These  include:

  1. The Association for the Aged (TAFTA) that serves Durban’s elderly residents.
  2. The Denis Hurley Centre, which supports migrant communities and the homeless in the city of Durban.
  3. Project Hope, which supports vulnerable woman who have escaped abusive relationships and and learn skills to access work.”


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