The madras is a fabric which is composed of a cotton weft with bright colours. This is a chequered or striped material with a simple texture; this is the reason why it creases very easily.
The madras is coming from a famous city in India also called Madras. Today the actual name of this city is Chennai. At the beginning, the madras consisted of banana fibres then the cotton has been the unique component.
Back in the days, the material has been made for a handkerchief use. However, there were few others items in madras including: Headdress, shawl, tie, belt and bundle.
The Madras in Guadeloupe Archipelago
The madras material has been introduced in Guadeloupe Archipelago 150 years ago. This was after the abolition of slavery in 1848, when the Indian population labour force came. Nowadays, the madras is symbolic in Guadeloupe archipelago.
The traditional dress has the madras material more English embroidery and lace. Most of the time there is a headscarf coming up with and you can tie it to the hip.
You can also add a madras headdress which is also known as the “tet”. There is a good deal of celebrations in Guadeloupe Archipelago around traditional music and dance such as: Gwo-ka, Biguine…etc. During these celebrations, the dancers are wearing maxi dresses that can be rolled-up to the belt enabling you to see a nice English embroidery and lacy underskirt.
For a long time, few people were dressed with madras in everyday life. However, the material has always been involved during several celebrations but today more than ever; there is a tremendous expansion of different pieces of clothes made with madras for men, women and children even for babies. Wedding dresses are extremely popular as more and more brides are interested. People from Guadeloupe archipelago are proud of their heritage.
Today, the madras is so famous that it has been incorporated to household linen. There are lots of websites which are selling several items including: curtains, tablecloths or bed linens as well as many others touristic souvenirs.