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Starting a textile weaving company wasn’t in the plans of a young teacher Arous when he migrated from Palermo, Sicily to Ghomrassen, a city in southeast Tunisia, in the early 1920’s. Italy was in the midst of tumultuous economic times following World War 1 as Flavio joined the more than 100,000 Italian residents in Tunisia.

Arous volunteered to teach French in Tunisia as France began its policy of economic and cultural expansion of the country by opening free schools and spreading the French language in North Africa. He stayed to teach in the desert area for 20 years. While there he became fascinated by the weaving of the Jewish community and learned their weaving methods. But he succumbed to the desert heat in 1945 and moved to Mahdia a town in the Sahel region in northeast Tunisia with much milder weather and he continued to teach French to the Muslim and Christian communities in Mahdia

In Mahdia, he opened a shop and his son Karim began to help him in it when he had time from school. Soon Karim left for school and opened his shop with a friend incorporating Sicilian culture. At the same time, the Arous family helped Karim to purchase the wood silk. Until the 1990’s he made sarongs for use in public baths in Tunisia, Sicily, and South France.

The Tunisian economy rebounded in 1987 following a change in government and the launch of a privatization program. Karim returned to Mahdia and opened a shop where he employed young people in the community to weave Fouta during the summertime so they could earn fair trade wages to pay for their further education. By 1987 Karim’s Fouta's were woven through a combination of southern Tunisian weaving techniques with color combinations inspired by traditional fabrics of Sicily.

Karim’s nephew Amine Mansour moved to the US in 2014, bringing Karim's Fouta with him. He named the company "Sofra", which means dinner table in Hebrew. In many countries, it is traditional to spread a blanket or cloth on the floor upon which dishes of food are placed and where families share their meals. Today, Sofra’s Fouta's grace is not only tables but used as design accents like throws for the sofa or bed, clothing like sarongs and scarves, bath and beach towels.

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