Tribal chic

| July 24, 2012 - 8.45UTC

Style guru and Yetu’s fashion writer, Olive Gachara meets up with the designers and reports on the Kenyan fashion trends spotted at the recent charity fashion event at the Tribe Hotel

Tribal Chic, the Annual Charity Fashion Event, was conceived by the Tribe Hotel as a bridge between fashion lovers and various charity organisations requiring much-needed support and visibility. Having raised funds for The Flying Kites Children’s Home in Kinangop last year, Tribal Chic 2012 dedicated its proceeds to FilmAid Kenya, a charity organisation that seeks to inform and empower communities disadvantaged by war, poverty, displacement and disaster.

Tribal Chic has grown to become one of the biggest fashion events on the East African calendar, attracting fashion enthusiasts from around the world, Nairobi’s socialites and philanthropists, and the local and international press. From a long list of designers applying to showcase on the glamorous Tribe Hotel catwalk, only seven were selected, including Nike Kondakis, Adele Dejak, Modahnik, Aryam Designs, Bella Matata, Katungulu Mwendwa and La Lesso. Tribe Hotel’s partnership with GenArt Global, who launched their Global Division in Kenya during the show, will see one of these designers showcase their collection at The GenArt Fall Fresh Faces Fashion Show to be held in New York in September 2012.

As usual with Nike Kondakis, her ‘transformer’ pieces unexpectedly changed from everyday wear to maternity wear. Adele Dejak, always showcasing her elaborate jewellery pieces against black, wowed the crowd with her use of brass, aluminium, bone and leather. Modahnik’s brightly coloured collection shone down like rays of sunshine onto the audience with her carefully selected African Fabrics, whilst Aryam Designs brought out the essence of Ethiopian dress with lots of linen, and unique cuts. Eco-friendly label Bella Matata used 100% recycled materials to put together the entire collection and used the occasion of the catwalk to bring out the importance of tree planting for the sustenance of life. La Lesso’s comfortable laid-back collection took us back to the coast, where the designers are based, and Katungulu Mwendwa showed off her understanding of fabric and attention to detail in her elaborate, yet simple pieces.

The audience had an opportunity to view and purchase the designer’s collections at boutiques set up by Tribe Hotel.

Jewellery designer, Adele Dejak’s style tips
Adele Dejak reminds me of the writer Paulo Coelho because she ALWAYS wears black! How she manages to look different and edgy simply fascinates me, but I guess that’s sort of simple when you are a jewellery designer. Here’s what she has to say about her style:

How would you define your personal style? My style is chic, savvy, clean cut and unique. As a designer, I have to combine simple elements to create my style.

Why do you wear black ALL the time? Black is neutral and it creates a great backdrop to my accessories. I feel super confident wearing black. Black is the new black!
Other than black, what is your next favourite colour for clothes and accessories? White or beige are my next favourite colours as they are also neutral and give a very clean look when decked out with accessories.

You always wear Adele Dejak Jewellery. Is that a depiction of your style, or simply part of your branding? I would say both. I am always accessorising my black outfits with either my jewellery or jewellery from other designers that I really like. Most of the time people will see me in my jewellery at fashion shows or similar events where I will try to promote my brand. I also feel very comfortable wearing my own designs. You have to love it before others can.

Where do you get inspiration for your exquisite bags and jewellery pieces from? Most of my inspiration comes from African shapes and textures, nature and lots of research. I like achieving extraordinary results because then a buyer will see that a particular design was given careful thought and time was taken to create it.

Meet the designers
Nike Kondakis Renowned for working with recycled parachutes, Nike’s pieces are not only innovative, but also extremely unique and exciting to wear.
Aryam Designs Having been a designer from the age of 18, LouLou has re-invented herself under Aryam Designs where she focuses on comfort and simplistic elegance.
La Lesso After a visit to Lamu, co-designers Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser formed La Lesso to create the vibrant and carefree summer fashion their brand has become known for.
Modahnik Fashion designer Kahindo Matene, hailing from the DRC and living in Chicago, founded Modahnik in 2009, which is an anagram of her first name and last initial.
Katungulu Mwendwa Inspired by the Tuareg people, Katungulu’s Tribal Chic collection was a true redefinition of what local designers have to offer.
Bella Matata Fashion designer and artiste Dominique Thoenes is largely known for her creative streak and fresh funky clothing.
Adele Dejak Adele’s latest collection, the Rogo, was inspired by various shapes found in kitenge fabrics.

About Filmaid Kenya
Founded during the Balkan Crisis in 1999 by award-winning producer Caroline Baron, FilmAid Kenya produces and distributes community-based films on critical public health and safety issues. FilmAid currently works in the large refugee camps of Dadaab and Kakuma in Northern Kenya, as well as more informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa.“I had an idea; I would rally the entertainment industry to bring films to the camps. We would hold outdoor screenings – feed the imagination and the soul while providing life-saving messages on the big screen to people with little access to crucial information.” What was once ‘just an idea’, born during the 1999 Kosovo War has turned into a global movement. FilmAid is now a Global Federation with FilmAid International, FilmAid UK, FilmAid Kenya and FilmAid Asia as its members.
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