Da Gama Textiles is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest vertically integrated textile producers. We produce niche branded products, including the internationally recognised brand name Three Cats Original Shweshwe. Our core divisions are:
We are a major supplier to South African retailers and wholesalers, and provide a link to home sewers in the informal sector. The hallmark of the division is its niche market branded merchandise that has become synonymous with quality.
Indigo Cloth emerged in South Africa after 1652 and since the 1840's shoeshoe or isishweshwe became heavily influenced by French and German missionaries. Xhosa women gradually added the Blue Print to their red Blanket Clothing and further integrated the use of Shweshwe into traditional Xhosa weddings and culture.
A dedicated section focused on designing and developing bespoke and stock supported products to meet the requirements for Curtaining, Soft Furnishing & Upholstery.
With the assistance of our creative team we will facilitate the creation of your bespoke inspired designs internally before taking final creations to screen and strike off stage.
With a range of Cotton and Cotton/Linen base fabrics available for selection to print your bespoke creations, these quality fabrics are also available ex-stock as a pre-shrunk option in Natural and Non-optical white to local hand, screen & digital printers.
Enhancing our offer, stock supported Plain Dyed and printed ranges to fulfil the demands of roll & cut length requirements are readily available from Jacksons Fabrics and other stockists.
We are proud to be able to expand our offer to medical fabrics such as Bunny Blanket, Bedspread and Herringbone in optical white from stock and offer the option to print medical logos and printed designs on a made to order basis.
We are committed to the Protective Clothing and Garment Manufacturers who utilize SABS approved fabrics to supply The Mining Industry, Parastatals, Provincial and Municipal Contracts, Independents and Wholesale Distributors.
A touch of history
Founded in 1948 the company has more than 65 years’ experience in the weaving of cotton and the dying, printing and finishing of fabrics.
To date, Da Gama Textiles still produces the original Shweshwe at the Zwelitsha factory in the Eastern Cape. The process is still done traditionally whereby a weak acid solution is fed onto the fabric, bleaching out the distinctive intricate white designs.
During 1992 Da Gama Textiles purchased the sole rights to own and print the Three Cats range of designs and had all the original Copper Rollers, Design Library and machinery shipped to Da Gama Textiles in Zwelitsha.
The company's Shweshwe ranges have the unique traditional characteristics of taste, touch and smell which are all identifiable by the authenticating 3 CATS backstamp that confirms the products are 'THE ORIGINAL SHWESHWE'.
Shweshwe is manufactured with an acid discharge and unique printing technique on pure cotton calico. The fabric comes in various colours and a large variety of designs.
Traditional shweshwe colours include brown, blue and red. The colours have since expanded to include vivid shades of gold, pink, green and turquoise.
The fabric comes in a large variety of intricate designs including florals, stripes, and diamond, square and circular geometric patterns.
Shweshwe is still manufactured traditionally whereby fabric is fed through copper rollers.
Patterns are etched on the surface, allowing a weak acid solution to be fed into the fabric.
The acid solution then bleaches out the distinctive white designs, for which the fabric is known.
A South African-produced fabric that has meaning and significance.
As much as it is something old, it's become timeless. It remains a traditional cloth, but we have liberated it.
Whether you call it shweshwe, shoeshoe or isishweshwe, the indigo cloth or Germanic print that has been a part of life in Southern Africa since missionaries gave some to Lesotho's King Moshoeshoe I is probably trendier now than it's ever been.