The history of this fabric is a long one.… Foutas can be found anywhere you go in Tunisia, and wherever you go you can buy one. This is the cloth that is traditionally used to drape and dry oneself when in the Moorish bath.It is the summer piece of cloth that is placed in your basket when going to the beach. It comes in different colours and is woven differently. No Tunisian can resist it, and our cupboards are full of them. Being a purist, they just had to be black and white.
20 years ago, I visited a village in the Sahel where fouta workshops were to be found on the beach. I can remember those workshops open onto the sea wind and the rhythms made by the weaving machine pedals. For our collection, we insisted on finding this village again to have these black and white foutas made, but when we came back, all the workshops were gone except Kamel’s, one of the rare weavers still working. He inherited the weaving machine from his grandparents, and still weaves foutas for some people who like them as they were originally made.
It takes two days to weave a fouta on a manual loom. To us, the fouta means what Tunisian crafts are when they are devoid of frills and ornamentations. It is simple, graphic, and full of charm, and you just can't do without one, last but not least, its uses are numerous.
Kamel has been working in the textile industry for the last 25 years. He’s among the last weavers left in Lamta, and all Tunisian foutas are now factory made. First and foremost, a fouta is used for either the bath or to go to the hammam.
Lamta is a magical village in the Sahel region, which dates back to the Punic area.