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Cameroon designer promotes traditional fabric
December 6, 2017, 5:32 pm

Liz Ngwane, a 24-year-old fashion designer in Buea, Cameroon, known for her fashionable outfits, has been at the forefront of promoting the traditional fabric of Cameroon called toghu.

Once a preserve of royalty and dignitaries in Cameroon and made traditionally by communities in the north-west of the country, Toghu is seeing a comeback into high fashion mainly through the works of young designers such as Ms. Ngwane.

A colorful fabric commonly done in black, gold and orange, toghu is finely embroidered in bold patterns using different colors. The technique, which has been handed down through generations, is witnessing a revival today. Cheaper printed versions of the cloth are now also found in the market as manufacturers take advantage of demand for toghu.

“That fabric represents us as Cameroon, so it high time we start wearing our own products with pride,” said Ms. Ngwane. “It is important for the younger generation, celebrities and every other person in the country to wear products from Cameroon; this tells you are a Cameroonian and makes you feel proud of wearing your nation's fabric. So I think that is why everybody is getting into toghu fabric and, moreover, several young designers are now bringing so many beautiful pieces using the toghu fabric,” added Ms. Ngwane.

She tries to give her designs a modern cut to attract customers looking for stylish outfits done in the toghu fabric. The young designer also likes to blend toghu with sheer fabrics to bring out her sometimes flamboyant creations. By creating fashionable outfits and accessories, Cameroonians are able to keep an important part of their heritage alive and cash in on an ancient tradition, said the designer.

Toghu is worn today by many to mark special occasions and events like weddings and other formal gatherings. The fabric is also popular outside the country and its designs have inspired collections at various international fashion events in recent years.


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