Last February we went to visit some friends that are now living in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast. Do you remember that last week I started a series of capsule wardrobe making for my daughter since we were traveling? well, now you know why 😉
As usual when I travel, one of the things that were or my to-do-list while there, is to go fabric hunting! Seeing all those beautiful African waxes on other sewing aficionadas feeds had given me the envy to get some for myself. And once you are there and you see those beautiful African women wearing it, you see they are gorgeous!
Once I arrived there, my friend showed me some of the “pagnes” she had already bought and recommended going to Woodin. A “pagne” is 2 yards of Africa wax fabric that people there use to wrap themselves around with it. I did my little research and learnt that “pagne” comes from the Spanish “paño”, which means a piece of tissue/fabric. I also learnt that some of the “pagnes” are made in The Netherlands (a funny thing to buy fabric there that is made in the country you live…).
Then Woodin was the first fabric store I visited there. And it was just Woooow-ing! They have such a beautiful choice and so nicely presented.
I didn’t buy any “pagnes” on the first day, I wanted to see other places before start spending my money!
Since I didn’t know where else go to find other African wax fabric, I was lucky that my friend Caroline, from La Cabane d’Elilou replied to my Instagram call asking for help! She suggested me to go to Treichville market (in the Treichville area 😉 )
She was right, on the first floor of a local market selling from fresh food (including chickens) to souvenirs, there are a few fabric shops selling pagnes. What most impressed me were all the young and not so young ladies sewing with their, what we call here “vintage sewing machines” and making all those beautiful garments with the pagnes.
It was beautiful to see them mastering the machine.
The next day, I looked on the local guide and found that the Adjamé market could be also worth a visit. This one being even more local than the previous one.
This one is a “tentacular” one that runs in a few streets. Among other things, you find lots of fabric shops.
In both markets you have good choices, at a cheaper price than the first fabric store mentioned. Although, I think the quality is of course much better at Woodin. After buying some fabric in the first market and visiting this second one (and living without buying any extra pagne!!) I went back to Woodin to bring back home a few nice quality pagnes.
There are other places in Abidjan where you can find fabric, some women even carry them on top of their heads (I even saw an ambulant haberdashery). And you can also have your own seamstress or tailor visiting you at home with their sewing machines as you can spot on the picture below!
I love bringing back fabrics from the countries that I visit. It is a good souvenir and you realize that fabric has been existing for a long long time, and each country has its own little story about it. Then, whenever I make a garment or accessories with those fabrics, it feels even more special.
Do you know any other places not to be missed in the Ivory Coast for fabric hoarders? I’d love to hear from you!