Ukat was the first African word we learned in Thiobon, a small town in Senegal. All the children shouted “ukat, ukat”, while we were settling in there to collaborate for three months in the construction of a maternity ward. Within a couple of days we had already integrated the word “ukat” into our vocabulary. When we were dissatisfied with something we repeated the word several times and it seemed to work. “Ukat” means something like “stop doing that”, “stop saying that” … we have given it our own meaning to say “stop”, stop, give yourself a moment to think and reflect.
Ukat was established thanks to this trip to Senegal, the discovery of local African wax fabrics and the essential work carried out by tailors in a country where each inhabitant has a made-to-measure suit. The wax fabric is the main feature of our accessories together with the craftsmanship and dedication of many people who have believed in the project since we started this journey on a return ticket, but that has ended up becoming a one-way trip.
Diere, along with his team, is the tailor who makes UKAT accessories. Both the laptop cases and the headbands are made from start to finish in his small sewing workshop in the Casamance, in the south of Senegal. Her passion for sewing comes from family tradition. His father was already a seamstress by trade and had his own workshop at home. Dierre was born among fabrics and threads and learned the profession at a very young age. Later, after training for a while in Ziguinchor, he fulfilled his dream: to build his own sewing workshop and make clothes for all the people of the village.
The main idea of the UKAT project is to make most of our clothing in Senegal, bring to light the tailoring tradition there, and encourage women who are at risk of being excluded from the labour market to collaborate with us also by working in the preparation of the laptop cases.