Our Lovely Fabrics

We work with fantastic fabric vendors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to ensure that our materials come from the continent of Africa.

We value the integrity of our products and our staff, so we have decided to only use prints made in Africa. ILAVA incorporates these African prints to celebrate the complexity and beauty of the African continent. We believe that one of the most effective ways to share and celebrate each culture is through clothing.

The History of Vitenge

The history of African print or wax is more complex than one might imagine. African wax prints, also known as Ankara or vitenge, are ubiquitous materials for clothing across West, Central, and East Africa. They were introduced to West and Central Africans by Dutch merchants during the 19th century, who drew inspiration from native Indonesian designs. Over time, these prints evolved to cater to the tastes of the African market, with adapted designs and colors. These industrially produced, colorful cotton cloths feature batik-inspired printing techniques.

In the past, women in West Africa used wax prints as a form of nonverbal communication, allowing them to convey messages of hope, love, revenge, and prosperity to the world.

How We Make Our Linen

The linen used for our Pumzika Collection was hand woven by highly skilled Tanzanian craftsmen using 100% Tanzanian cotton.

What Sustainable Means To Us

ILAVA is a member of Fair Trade and we before we were officially member we implemented fair trade values because we believe the these values should be a “lifestyle”. All of our products are handmade, and we avoid over production by creating limited quantities.

In addition, our partners and employees in Tanzania share mutual values for following the principles of fair trade while maintaining our high standards for quality. All of our employees are paid above the national standards for a living wage.