Using the Past to Sculpt the Costume of the Future

Contemporary African Fashion published by Indiana University Press, 2010

includes Janet’s photograph on the upper left of the cover plus four more photographs inside & Using the Past to Sculpt the Costume of the Future, her interview with Kandioura Coulibaly.

“My mother had a vase of indigo in the house. My father had a small field of cotton, not for sale but for the clothes of the family. When the first rain fell, we planted the field of cotton that was uniquely for clothing for the family. It was my first understanding that it was as important as the fields of millet.

The spindle and the needle were as important as the little hoe used to cultivate the millet. When people came back to the village from the foreign countries where they were working, they distributed needles to the old people. When we were very young, the adults didn’t let us work with needles because we would either stick ourselves or break the needles. We took the feathers of birds and learned to sew with them. With them, I tried to sew between the threads of the weaving. That was my first way of making fashion.

This is how I started to do my research. We forged our life with this action of making our needs, finding what we wanted to do. We looked for everything that was necessary to do it. I’m still in this action of finding ways to reconstitute my thoughts.”

Kandioura Coulibaly