Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016

Happy new year! I hope you had some time to rest and rejuvenate as the year turned. A good chunk of my holiday was spent in Moshi, Tanzania. I stayed at my late grandparents’ home – resting, reading and spending time with family. I came back to Nairobi with renewed enthusiasm and clarity! There are several big (and slightly scary) adventures – design and otherwise – on the horizon this year, for me and for the Studio. I look forward to sharing them with you.

The first one starts next week, when 3 creative friends and I set off for a 15,000km+ road trip through southern Africa (see below).

As we prepare to set off, I wanted to share some highlights from 2016. Many of you have been a part of these projects and endeavours and I thank you deeply for your different contributions. Continue reading “Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016”

Owiny Sigoma Band: Afro Grooves and Psychedelic Album Art

I discovered Owiny Sigoma Band thanks to Radio 6, while in the studio this week. Hearing Luo piqued my interest and then, upon discovering that the song was called “Deep Kisumu Fish” (listen), I had to look these guys up.

When I did, I was mesmerised by the fluorescent, psychedelic album cover art. Totally matches the description of the music on Bandcamp: “a collection of gloriously hypnotic Afro grooves symbolic of the true culture clash between the Luo and London”.

Continue reading “Owiny Sigoma Band: Afro Grooves and Psychedelic Album Art”

Inspired: Tropical Flora from my East African Travels

Tropical-Flora-East-Africa

I recently returned from a wonderfully rejuvenating trip home to East Africa. Here’s the story of my trip, told through the tropical flora!

First stop was my hometown of Nairobi. I felt so lucky to wake up each morning to this – such a diverse, colourful collection of foliage. If you’ve been following my #plantsomethingdaily challenge, you know how much inspiration I derive from nature!

Continue reading “Inspired: Tropical Flora from my East African Travels”

The Afri-love List: 4 (East) African Photographers to Follow on Instagram

 1-Photographers-Instagram-East-Africa

 

This is the first of many lists as I’m constantly discovering amazing African photographers (and other creatives), through Instagram. The four featured here all hail from my part of the continent – the east. This is just a slice of their repertoire so be sure to check them out their Instagram feeds. In alphabetical order …

Continue reading “The Afri-love List: 4 (East) African Photographers to Follow on Instagram”

Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion

You may have already come across Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion digital campaign. Well, the challenge is soon coming to an end – today is Diana’s 94th day. Find out more about her campaign and see what she’s worn, here and on her Instagram feed, @dianaopoti.

Congratulations on a great campaign Diana!

Above, some of my favourites. Designers (clockwise from top left): Sindiso Khumalo, Bestow Elan and  Chichia London.

————————————————————————

Related:

Continue reading “Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion”

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.

————————————————————————

Related:

Continue reading “Buy African: Statement Necklaces”

Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014

I spent a wonderful weekend in Liverpool, at the UK’s largest African musical festival, Africa Oyé. This year wasn’t just about soaking up the good music and good vibes (although there was still plenty of that) as I was helping out at the Creativity and Noise + Merkato stall.

 

2-Creativity-and-Noise-Yebo-T-shirt-on-Tour

It was great to get out of the big city – I love train journeys, exploring new places and taking a breather from the hecticness of London.

 

3-Setting-Up-Festival-Stall

I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs who regularly set up at markets and events. It’s demanding work!

 

4-Laura-Merkato-MKTO-Setting-Up-Shop

This is Laura Marano, the lady behind Merkato (fairly traded homeware and fashion accessories). You may remember her from a popular Afri-love interview where she talked about her other venture, Green-Safari.

 

5-Merkato-MKTO-Creativity-and-Noise-Stall-Laura-Marano-Lusungu-Chikamata

Laura and Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise. All set up and ready to trade!

 

6-African-Design-Tote-Bags-Creativity-and-Noise

It was exciting to launch the new Creativity and Noise t-shirts and tote bags, designed by yours truly and hand screenprinted by Lusungu.

 

7-African-Design-Baskets-Merkato-MKTO-Taita

Beautiful wares from Merkato. Most made in the Taita-Taveta district of Kenya, where my Dad is from.

 

8-African-Design-T-shirt-Creativity-and-Noise-Drum-Lusungu-Chikamata

Lusungu representing in his new ‘Beat It’ t-shirt. Look for it on the Creativity and Noise shop.

 

9-African-Design-Knit-iPhone-Cases-Merkato

Knit iPhone cases from Merkato.

 

10-African-Design-Guords-Taita-Baskets-Merkato

It was a visual treat checking out what the other vendors had to offer, such as these guords. Right: a Taita basket from Merkato (and the lady who made it!).

 

11-Kenya-Tanzania-Beaded-Bracelets

I met some fellow Kenyans, Muigai and Anto, who were selling these beaded bangles that had me feeling all patriotic. Kenya and Tanzania represented – perfect!

 

13-Moroccan-Shoes-Leather

A wonderful array of colours at Dry Rain, a stall selling Moroccan wares including these leather slippers.

 

14-Coasters-and-Bangles-by-Craft-Africa

Our neighbouring stall had a massive collection of baskets and other woven goods including these coasters, bangles …

 

15-African-Design-Woven-Rugs-Mats-Craft-Africa

… and mats/rugs.

 

16-Zebra-Print-Van-Safari-Food

A funky zebra-print van belonging to a food stall selling all kinds of African game meat, including my beloved crocodile!

 

17-African-Design-Recylced-Flip-Flops-Upcycled-Fridge-Magnets-Merkato

Butterfly fridge magnets made from recycled/upcycled flip-flops. From Merkato.

 

18-Dancing-Chikamatas-Africa-Oye

Of course, there was time for dancing.

 

19-Africa-Oye-With-the-Zambians

Me with the Zambians, all representing with our Creativity and Noise tees.

 

20-Blue-Skies-Africa-Oye-Liverpool

It almost always rains at some point during the Africa Oyé weekend. This year, it didn’t! Blue skies and sunshine throughout. What a bonus?!

 

21-African-Design-Rocking-Merkato-Creativity-and-Noise-Africa-Oye

All geared up and ready for day 2 of the festival.

 

22-Africa-Oye-African-Music-Jally-Kebba-Susso-Joe-Driscoll

We got to watch Joe Driscoll and Jally Kebba Susso  jamming/warming up early on the Sunday morning. The kora on reggae and hip hop tracks sounds amazing!

 

23-Sunset-Africa-Oye-Rose-Tinted-Glasses

As usual, the whole experience was a welcome and wonderful assault on the senses.

One of the things I love about Africa Oyé is that there’s no heavy-handed policing. The police and security presence at this festival is surprisingly minimal – you barely notice them. No gates to walk through where every inch of you is checked, no wall of policemen to intimidate. It just goes to show that if you treat people like human beings, they will act like human beings!

At some point on the Sunday, I found myself feeling a little bit teary. I know this is going to sound corny but, I was overwhelmed by just how beautiful the moment was. All kinds of people – ages, races, abilities; all kinds of random acts of kindness going on; people talking to strangers … real, tangible joy!

See you there next year!

 

Photos by Lulu Kitololo (and a couple courtesy of Lusungu Chikamata), most of them processed with VSCOcam. View even more photos from the weekend, on Facebook.

Continue reading “Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014”

Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo

I love the colour, pattern and personality in these prints from Jamilla Okubo’s series, ‘We The People of the Diaspora – Black Culture Exploration’. African-American/Kenyan native Jamilla is an Integrated Fashion Design student and a self-declared painter, textile artist, designer and graphic artist.

Regarding her prints, her site reads:

“The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.”

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp2_905

 

I’m really impressed by Jamilla’s entrepreneurialism. Her prints are on sale online and she’s already received some great press mentions and interviews for her work. In my own experience, the hustling I did before graduation (including spending most of my holidays interning) definitely made a difference when I entered the so-called real world.

Find out more about Jamilla and her diverse work.

Images via Jamilla Okubo’s website

————————————————————————

Related:

 

 

Continue reading “Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo”

Buy African: Educational Rooti Dolls

African-Rooti-Educational-Language-Dolls

Rooti Dolls create multicultural dolls that can teach children many words and phrases in various African ethnic languages, including Twi, Ga, Ewe, Krobo, Shona, Ndebele, Bemba, Nyanja, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans, Ijaw, Edo, Idoma, Tiv.

Continue reading “Buy African: Educational Rooti Dolls”

Buy African: Geometrical Accessories from Soko

Soko-Geometric-African-Jewellery

Online store, Soko, sells handcrafted jewellery made by artisans in emerging economies, using natural and upcycled materials. They "fashion a better world" through craft, technology and trade. I'm loving the technological angle – leveraging the fact that online sales overtook retail sales years ago and leveraging how empowering mobile money has been in Africa. An apparent win-win for everybody.

I'm also enjoying the bold geometric nature of the accessories above from Soko's 'Kenyan collection'.  

Watch the animation below for the Soko model. I'm looking forward to checking them out at PURE London today.

Continue reading “Buy African: Geometrical Accessories from Soko”