Slide 5

This straight shift introduces two elements typical Camerooian clothing: basain and embroidery. Basain is the name given to any cotton fabric which is single colored and has a woven design in it like damask. The woven designs add texture to garments, and can be so intricate and beautiful that this fabric can stand alone, artistically. This garment is embellished with embroidery at both the neck and the hem done on a sewing machine in a zig-zag or chain stitch. Embroidery is traditionally man's work.

In Bamenda market, one may visit the booth of a tailor, pick out the material, the cut of garment and the embroidery style that one wishes. The tailors often have an album of photos of embroidery designs that are in their repertoire. Tie-dye is used to further enhance the appearance of the garment. The use of images from the natural environment, and the use of geometric patterns are both elements that occur and are often combined to create incredibly beautiful garments.

The cut of this gown is called "gant" in French-speaking Cameroon. As was explained to me, with accompanying hand gesture, it is calledgant because in comparison to the more free-flowing garments, its fit more resembles that of a glove. As was explained to me by an English speakingcameroonian, this cut of garment is not called gant. The French speaking Cameroonian simply misunderstood the English word "gown" and picked the closest phonetic French equivalent, gant. --"And so it goes. " Kurt Vonnegut