A few weeks ago we went to a place called Petit Paris, the place to go if what you’re looking for is pagne, material. We are always very eager to have some African clothes made and so we went to the same shop we had visited back in April. The place is overwhelming - so many different designs to choose from – and it took us quite a long time to make the decision. In the end, Jandro went for a very masculine khaki/bottle green/dark orange, while I fell in love with pink and dark green. We paid 3500 CFA each (around 5 euros) and all we needed now was a tailor.
We asked around and consequently discovered the atelier of a man by the name of Dialo. A friend gave us precise directions: You know the restaurant Chez Gorge? Ok. You know the roast chicken stand nearby? Ok. Turn right after the chickens. We did, and stumbled upon a kind of a garage with sewing machines, materials and a man sitting in the middle.
- Hello. We are looking for Dialo.
- I am Dialo.
- Are you a tailor?
- Yes. How do you know my name?
- You were recommended by E., our Belgian friend.
- I don’t know her.
- But don’t leave. I will call my brother.
- But we are looking for Dialo… What’s his name?
Right. E. had warned us this might happen. Another man came by and indeed his name was Dialo. Sadly, he also denied knowing E. and we were on our way out when he finally mentioned a Spanish girl that was a direct link to us. We turned back at the sound of her name and immediately demanded two shirts for Jandro and a blouse and a dress for me (I left him my European clothes to copy).
The man called a few days later and told us we could pick up our order. And – wow! – he really did a great job! I absolutely adore the shirt (check out the picture) but the dress needed a bit of trimming. We thus came back to his workshop – a tiny place with three Singer sewing machines, three men corresponding to the latter and a lot of mess. As I was very happy with his work and I still had some of my pink/dark green material left, I ordered another dress. This time I did not, however, bring anything to copy, and I – in French! – demanded to see African designs. They are there on the wall, in the form of posters with numerous pictures of the same big African lady happily wearing different dresses. I pointed to one that I liked (a very simple thing, not typically African) and Dialo took a yellow post-it. He occupied half of it with a minute drawing of the dress and discussed the details with me. Then he measured me, noted down all the numbers on the same post-it, and there it was, all ready. The time came to negotiate the price and I did, in French. It took us around ten minutes and, after he explained in detail why he couldn’t lower the price, he did, from 10000 CFA (15 euros) to 8000.
We are now awaiting the results. In the pictures you can see Jandro in his new shirt (he had two identical shirts made and only because I stopped him from ordering three), me in my gorgeous blouse and me in the dress I had made in April. What do you think? :)