Made in Kenya Store

“Made in Kenya” design was a very different thing when I was growing up, a couple of decades ago. The creative industry consisted of great theatrical productions and not much else. African Heritage was the place to get beautiful African crafts but, very much of the aesthetic that you’d expect when you think of “African”.

Back then, there were very few possibilities in our imagination, when it came to having a career as a creative and being able to make a decent living off of it.

That’s a huge part why I started this blog: to showcase the diversity of creative possibilities for us – affirming people’s creative dreams and inspiring them to pursue them.

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A few of my favourite things: Kenyan design brands

Nairobi this past November was a feast for the eyes, thanks to some of my favourite Kenyan design brands! I participated in several fairs which, gave me the opportunity to check out the great work of my peers.

The photos below were taken at Biz Baz, XmasBoX, Spring Valley Bazaar and the Ichyulu Pop Up at Zen Garden. This list is by no-means exhaustive!

I’m participating in 2 more events this year: a special Christmas evening at Nook Cafe on Thursday (14th December) and Pop-Up & Chill Handmaker’s Market, this Sunday (17th December). Come through to hang out, discover some new brands, and get your last-minute Christmas gifts and treats!

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Jewellery by Katra Awad: Artist of Love

I recently came across jewellery designer, global nomad and artist of love, Katra Awad.

Born in California, raised in Europe and the Caribbean and of Egyptian and Hispanic roots, I love her perspective on creativity, in the grander scheme of wellness and love:

 

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During one of my travels someone once said to me, “It is our responsibility in life to pursue our talents to the fullest extent & make every second count.” 

 

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In Pictures: the Monochrome Hues of Winter

As the weather turns, I find that my usually vibrant colour palette gets subverted by an inclination towards the monochrome. It’s clearest when it comes to my wardrobe but, I realised it happening with the photos I was taking too! Here are a few …

 

Sandile Zulu African Art

[Above: sculpture by Sandile Zulu, titled ‘Spinal Diagnoses: A Histopathological Case II’. Seen at the 1:54 Art Fair. Top image: Beaded jewellery from Sidai Designs, at the ‘Africa Calling’ pop-up curated by Shake the Dust which, returns soon]

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Buy African: Statement Necklaces

Accessories are this girl’s best friend. Drawing them, making them (way back in the day), working with people who design them and of course, wearing them! I love a good pair of dramatic earrings but, when it comes to really making a statement, nothing beats a fabulously bold necklace. These are a few on my wishlist (from top): Pichulik; Nyumbani Design; Mikuti; Pichulik; Dannijo; Christie Brown.

 

Images via the various online shops linked to above.

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Related:

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Interview with Accessories Designer, Evie Nix

I met Yvonne Nicholson, the Zambian born UK based designer behind Evie Nix, at the African Market at Old Spitalfields in London. It’s her I have to thank for the fabulous kitenge/ankara/wax print corset that I walked away with that day.

Evie Nix offers unique African print corsets, jewellery and accessories, all handmade with love. I asked Yvonne a few questions about what drives and inspires her work. Continue reading “Interview with Accessories Designer, Evie Nix”

Pins of the Week: Red, White and Pink

One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get to look for, look at and make beautiful images! Here are some that I came across this week. There was definitely a theme emerging – prints, beads and the red, pink and white palette.

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Images from top:

 

As you know, I ‘collect’ images over on Pinterest. Come and have a look.

Hope you’re having a restful, rejuvenating and creative weekend!

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Photos from The African Market at Old Spitalfields, London

I spent Monday hanging out with Lusungu at the Creativity and Noise and Merkato stall at The African Market Bank Holiday Festival, presented by Open the Gate at Old Spitalfields Market. There was entertainment, food and a variety of African and African-inspired art, design and crafts. I got to chat to some of the designer-makers and creative entrepreneurs – it’s always inspiring to be around other creative people!

Enjoy the photos and do check out these great brands and makers. Prepare your senses for a print and colour explosion!

(Photo above: recycled textile pouches by BURST. Contact: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com)

 

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Lusungu with his screenprinted Creativity and Noise t-shirts and Merkato baskets and toys

 

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Happy customer Winkate, rocking her brand new Africrown tank from Creativity and Noise

 

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Woven plastic bags from Senegal, available from Serenity Bags: senebagz [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Hoodies by Open the Gate

 

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Shoe laces by Open the Gate

 

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Trying on a fabulous corset by Evie Nix (don’t ask about the face!)

 

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More ankara/wax print goodies from Evie Nix, including bangles, cuffs and earrings

 

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Wishlist: this green weekend bag  and the yellow Choolips dress, available from Sapellé

 

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Textile recylcing – lavender pouches made from wax print off-cuts. By BURST: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Beaded bracelets from Sapellé

 

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Loved these shirts, shorts and t-shirts by TYMO

 

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After years of communicating virtually, I finally got to meet fashion designer Fée Uhssi in the flesh!

 

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Dolls by Verona.C

 

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And the lady Verona herself!

 

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Bibs and booties from the House of Loulee

 

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Lucy of House of Loulee. Last Christmas she custom made some beautiful boots for my friend’s 18 month old and a funky sweater for Lusungu.

 

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Story time!

 

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I didn’t catch the name of the last band that performed. Let me know if you did!

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo (except the one of Lulu, taken by Yvonne of Evie Nix), with a little love from VSCOcam.

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Related:

 

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Buy African: Beaded Jewellery from Sidai Designs

Sidai Designs Beaded Jewellery Bracelets African Maasai

 

I came across beaded jewellery by Sidai Designs at a Shake the Dust stall during the Open the Gate African market at Old Spitalfields. I loved the different spin on Maasai-inspired jewellery and the quality finishing.

Sidai Designs collaborates with Maasai women in Tanzania who use recycled materials to create the handmade

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Buy African: Merchants on Long – Africa’s First Concept Store

 

Merchants on Long Interior 2

Merchants on Long Shop Window

 

Exclusively stocking design produced in Africa, Merchants on Long is very high on my list for when I eventually visit Cape Town. It’s really exciting to see how the brand has expanded to now include…

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