Basotho Heritage Blankets

Blankets featured in the film Black Panther were manufactured in Randfontein, a small mining town in South Africa by a company called Aranda Textile Mills. The company was started by Dr. Magni, an Italian who immigrated to South Africa with his two brothers after World War II to rebuild their family’s weaving industry that had been destroyed in Prato during the war. The first blankets were produced in 1953. In the 1980s, the Basotho heritage style blankets, which are worn every day in the colder higher regions, were designed by two Englishmen, R.D. Shrubsole and Colin Tunnington, who were experts in Basotho culture. The stripe, which was originally a weaving error, has become a trademark of the blankets. The stripe is worn vertically to denote growth. The blankets began to be sold in Johannesburg about 30 years ago with a branch store in Ficksburg, on the border of Lesotho.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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