Page 1

“Mozambique capulanas in a D4S Design perspective: identity, tradition and fashion-able challenges in the XXI century”. Advisor: Professor Doutor Henri Christiaans (TU Delft – the Netherlands) Co-advisor: Prof.ª Doutora Paula Menezes (CES- Coimbra) Phd Cadidate: Sofia Leonor Vilarinho Lucas

“Mozambique capulanas in a D4S Design perspective: identity, tradition and fashionable challenges in the XXI century�.

Key words Sustainable Fashion design, Capulana, identity, Indian Ocean cultures

Mozambique Island , 1982 By Jorge dias


Aims of the project

Main objective to develop a fashion-able concept through an action research methodology with African communities that: (a)enables a renewed attention to traditional textiles and dressing, including the symbolism of Capulana, (b)boost the self-esteem and identity among the African community, and (c)develops methods and tools for these actions, involving disciplines as fashion design, cultural studies and anthropology - that can be generalized, i.e. applied to other areas of design and to other populations.

Maxaquene , Maputo suburbs, May 2011

The object Capulana

A rectangular printed cotton cloth (150 cm / 110 cm). Very Typical in East Africa. Symbolism: a cultural, social, religious, political and sexual manifest. The voice of women’s silence, Especially in the illiterate Muslim society



2.1 History of capulana 2.2 Cultural aspects of the capulana fashion 2.3 Cosmopolitan capulana in contemporary societies

Arab trades

Indian Trades

Portuguese trades

Indian Ocean Trades



2.1 History of capulana a) Capulana is a factory printed textile and emerged in XIX century, in East Africa , in the context of slave abolition and the hegemony of Industrial Revolution in Europe. b) Born from the ‘interpermeated ‘ textile history, between Arabs, Europeans ( specially Portuguese) and Indians. c) This cross-culture has interfered in the capulana visual initial patterns and still nowadays an agent of creativity and globalization process Note: Have submitted a paper for the conference "Textile Trades and Consumption in the Indian Ocean World, from Early Times to the Present", International Conference at the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Title: Capulana cosmopolitan Narratives Visual statements that drape relations trough fashion –able processes born after XIX century, in East Africa



2.2 Cultural aspects of the capulana fashion Since late XIX century, this textile has acted as an active communicative element especially relevant to analyze the binomial suppression/freedom that shaped the cultural tailoring patterns in the Indian Ocean.



2.3 Cosmopolitan capulana in contemporary Indian Ocean societies This textile doesn´t act as imitation, but as a relational process, and involves multiple adjustments, both in terms of behavior, rituals and creativity, thus justifying its potentiality as a target to study the truly cosmopolitan nature of the Indian Ocean cultural encounters.

Capulana skills are based on fashion-able processes that stimulated the originality and the creativity born from popular cultures. This fashion – attitude is sustainable in itself and marks a creative position, able to new consumption relations and rhythms by “doing cosmopolitanism”.


Empirical studies

Methods 3.1 Ethnographic study in Maputo ( Mozambique) 3.2 A community of practice in Lisbon ( develop the pilot project) 3.3 Implementation of the pilot project in Mozambique



4.1) Etnographic study Fieldwork in the city of Maputo, Mozambique. a) Field Data - observations (participatory and non-participatory) - interviews - documentation analysis - recordings and photographs - descriptive field notes of my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.



4.2) State of the art in Lisbon Pilot project a) Develop a co-creation with a group of african immigrant women b) Develop a education platform with the fashion school, Modatex, to boost tailoring skills with the group African immigrant tailors

I have decided to start this pilot project in Lisbon, because I can better control the variables, and after analysing the results this model will be applied in Mozambique.





Sustainable Design at the service of develloping economies


Mozambique capulanas in a D4S Design perspective: identity, tradition and fashion-able challenges in the XXI century


Can the object capulana boost the creation of new identities discourses through fashion(able), economic and intercultural devellopment platform?

Preliminary studies

Literary research

Capulana: object analysis

State of art



Proposition /


1) Carry out a D4S projec with African comunities to devellop new capulana applications, will open new economic and cultural platforms. 2) The development of a fashion-able platform within the community will enable the population to create new products as well as increasing the local economy. 3) The development of new products in co-creation with the community allows to preserve and generate a new discourse about capulana identity.

Mixed methodology : exploratory, Interventional and non interventional

Bibliographic research

Participative research Direct observation

Field works Case studies

Interviews Expert opinion

Laboratoies Active research Product devellopment

Creation of methodology and testing Hypothesis

Updating information, revising the hypothesis and results

Conclusions. Contributions. Recomendations for future investigations .

It is the aesthetics sense of the community that deliniates his culture.

Jinan Kb


Apresentação ponto de situação de investigação/2011  

Apresentação feita na FAUTL . 2º Ponto de investigação. ano 2011