The Mulfe Series aims to showcase the cultural significance of the Melhfa, a long rectangular cotton cloth, which is commonly worn in many African countries, particularly across the Sahel. This fashionable garment comes in a variety of colors and serves as protection against sand, heat, and sun, while also embodying elegance, grace, power, and resistance due to its rich historical implications. Our research associate, Zarah Chleuh, also adds that Melhfa’s are often categorized in segments based on their quality, which essentially determines how and where the garment is worn. Through this series, we delve into the origin story of the Mulfe and its impact on beauty and dress in societies that have adopted it. Our aim is to explore its potential if it were more widely adopted by creative communities and individuals across the globe. By highlighting the cultural identity of the Melhfa, we are uplifting this versatile dress to empower Sahliean craftsmanship and heritage, challenging the global creative and cultural sector to widen its perspective and become increasingly inclusive as a result. Join us in exploring the contemporary meaning of this traditional dress through the outtakes of these visually captivating journeys.
FAD teamed up with Dior Sow to explore the Melhfa, a traditional form of African dress, in Dakar, Senegal, the fashion capital of the country. With the help of Fatdwa, a Paris-based model and set designer with Senegalese and Mauritanian roots, we showcased the versatility of the fabric, effortlessly manipulated by Fatdwa's familiarity with the material. The photo series was captured by Quentin MKA, a French photographer based in Dakar, in an abandoned building near the stunning Yoff beach.
Our exploration of the Melhfa continued in Montreal, Quebec, where we collaborated with photographer Rin Eadie to showcase FAD's unique interpretation of the fabric. Our goal was to showcase our first original design, which had been previously crafted by our artisan tailors in Niamey, Niger. We worked with Ghita, a talented Moroccan-Canadian model, and fashion designer, to bring this vision to life. The final touches were added by the skilled hands of hair stylist Christa Bishariza and make-up artist Vasiliki Venetsanopoulous. The entire shoot took place in a photo studio that is also doubled as a design atelier.