What Makes Vlisco Special: Part 1

Date: March 5, 2020

Every person who walks through the doors of our Melbourne store for the first time, inevitably wanders over to our wall of Vlisco. They look up, eyes wide, sometimes with recognition, but more often with confused awe. 
They know what they see is unique, they know it’s special, but they can’t articulate why. 
This is when I race over, stand next to them and say:
“HI! Do you know about Vlisco!?” 
Often they’re so transfixed, they don’t even look at me, but they almost always say: “No, but tell me.”

This is the story I tell them: 

The Vlisco display in our Melbourne Store.

Incredible Quality for over 170 Years
All Vlisco prints are made using their coveted Wax Block Printing and Dyeing process. 
The quality and prestige are guaranteed through techniques that have been handed down for over 170 years. Basically “This is the Gucci of African Wax Prints.”

Every Vlisco piece is printed on both sides.

The printing process:
1. Wax rollers coat both sides of the cloth with wax that contains the design. 

2. The cloth is then dipped into an ink bath where ink can penetrate the cotton wherever there is no wax.
Usually the ink is a deep indigo (Vlisco’s most used dye), but on some designs they also use a deep crimson dye for other colours or the outlines. 

3. Flat colours are blocked on. Often you’ll see colours combinations you’ve never imagined, looking amazing as they twist through their indigo outlines. 

4. Some layers of wax will be purposely broken and then dip dyed. This is the way Vlisco’s signature bubbling is created. Most notably, you can find bubbling on their Bubble Wax and Super Wax designs. 

5. Extra special designs are embellished with a luxurious layer of sparkly ink to highlight parts (or sometimes almost all!) of the fabric. 

(One last, important piece of information about the production: is that most of it is TOP SECRET!  There are many, many more processes needed to create a design than I have described here.  In fact! It can take up to 3 weeks to complete just one design!)

This Super Wax two colours of bubbling (crackling), meaning that wax had to be laid, cracked dipped and removed two times. This in combination with the all over dye, dark outlines and flat colour steps.

Perfect Imperfections:
This dyeing process is subject to tiny and beautiful inconsistencies in the print. Including veining and ink bleeding. This is the best sign of a true Vlisco piece, and adds to the special-ness of the fabric, as no two yards are exactly alike. 
Remember: Your piece of Vlisco is one of a kind. 

Here you can see the delicate veins where the wax has cracked and let the ink bleed through.

The colours used by Vlisco are created Vlisco. 
Vlisco’s colourist’s use traditional techniques to create unique, vivid colours, rarely found elsewhere. Before it is allowed to be used in production, a colour undergoes vigorous testing to ensure its consistency and that it is water, heat, light and UV resistant and so, will not fade. 

If you’re a quilter, this is pretty exciting. See that pink that looks practically the same is two different designs? It is the same, and your quilts colouring is going to look perfectly consistent!

3 pieces of Wax Wax from the same series.

That’s it! 
You’ve had the full treatment!
But if you’re up for it, these is more information: in part 2