Because cotton is one of Mali’s primary exports, cloth and fabric are plentiful. This helps make clothing a valuable part of Malian culture. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to buy clothes is to buy cloth and have clothes custom made by a tailor. A complete outfit with pants and and shirt is only about $20. The tailors are very creative and the clothes they make are beautiful and interesting. The variety of fabric is endless and the patterns are very colorful and often unusual and amusing. John recently had a new set of clothes made. Rather than pre-buying fabric, he left it to his tailor to pick out the fabric. He picked up his clothes a few days later. The first time he put them on, Julie burst out laughing. The fabric pattern features loaves of sliced bread in a plastic wrapper. It’s even more interesting because this type of bread isn’t available in Mali.
John loves his new clothes and continues to receive a lot of compliments from Malians whenever he wears them.