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About KOKON

Michelle du Plessis about the KOKON story

"Kokon yarn was created to express  my love of textiles and craft, to find an outlet for my creativity and my enquiring mind and to celebrate my heritage and history. 

 I was born in South Africa in Port Elizabeth, the capital of the Eastern Cape Province. From my earliest childhood memories I was always busy with craft, drawing, pottery, painting, embroidery, jewellery making, papier maché to name a few. I will never forget that as a small child of 4 or 5 years, I sewed an oven mitten for my nursery school teacher whom I adored. It had an odd shape, did not fit and almost fell apart, but I was so chuffed with my handmade gift that I wrapped it in a shoe box and proudly gave it to her.  

My mother knew that with each birthday and Christmas present, if there were enough coloured pencils, coloured markers and drawing blocknotes included, the gift was perfect no matter what else was included."

"I have two sisters and up until the age of about 6 years, my mom made all our clothes and dressed us identically, which I loved. 

We were her pride and joy and she sewed from yellow and white gingham bikini’s with little white square buckles, to winter dresses worn with turtle necks and stockings. 

I also had two grandmothers who not only dressed beautifully but also did embroidery and sewing. Pictured here my sisters and I in matching handmade clothing with our grandmother Irene in Cape Town. (I’m on the left.)" 

"After the birth of my second child the opportunity arose for me to start my own business. My parents whom I loved dearly had passed away respectively in 2002 and 2010 and in their memory I named my brand after them. My father’s nickname that he went by all his life was KOKO and my mother’s name was NELL. KOKON was born.

It brings me great joy to always have my parents with me in my creative Kokon journey."

South African Merino

South African merino wool is known worldwide for its high quality. In South Africa there is a protocol for animal husbandry/welfare. It is enforced by the South African Wool Board. The SAWB issues mulesing-free certificates to its producers. This ensures that our merino wool is mulesing free. The merino sheep graze free in the vast semi desert central Karoo region of South Africa.

The history of South-African merino wool

The first Merino sheep arrived in South Africa at the Cape of Good Hope in 1789. "Cape Wool" has become the international generic trade term for all wool produced on the sub-continent of Africa, with South Africa being the main producer.

Wool sheep breeders in South Africa are well-organised in official societies. Cape Wool has over the years built up an enviable reputation as extremely well-classed and well prepared for the market.

A protocol for animal welfare exists within Cape Wool and is enforced. Resource-based conservation is a high priority and the “clean green” approach is a business ethic.

Mulesing

Mulesing involves the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep to prevent fly strike. Flystrike is a parasitic infestation of the body of a live mammal by fly larvea that grow inside the host while feeding on its tissue. 

Steps taken in South Africa to prevent mulesing:

  • The South African Merino has over the years been bred for less skin folds.
  • The average flock size in South Africa is considerably smaller than for example in Australia. Consequently, the South African wool farmer can give much more individual attention to his flock and take preventative steps to avoid flystrike.
  • Sheep are sheared more often, which eliminates wool growth in the area where blowfly lay their eggs.