Posted on July 11 2020
M’lifa is a fabric that I absolutely love! Why you may ask? The answer is that each piece is individually tie dyed, and is therefore completely unique. When made into caftans or other items of clothing, no two items will ever be the same.
M’lifa is mainly manufactured in a town called Kaédi in Mauritania, south of Morocco. It comes in either a light weight cotton, or most often a fine muslin around 5.5 metres long. It is worn by ladies in the south, where the length is wrapped around the body, and afterwards covers the head, very much like an Indian sari. The fabrics are produced in an amazing array of colours, but my personal favourite are lengths dyed with indigo.
The cloth is cool to wear, and protects the skin from the hot Mauritanian sun. The dye is not fixed, so it fades like denim when washed. However, if you add a salt, this helps to keep the original colour. Should any colour rub off onto other clothing, simply wash and it will disappear.
A second trend is is to reverse the process and bleach dyed fabric, still using the tie dye method. This leave a negative design, which is extremely dramatic. With this process, there is no loss of colour when the fabric is washed.
Take a look at our m’lifa caftans and scarves and be inspired.
Thank you to all at Jarjeer Mule & Donkey Sanctuary for hosting Atelier M’s photoshoot, and for making us feel so welcome.