Culture and Tradition is the mother of all things creative, before we discovered what name to give various trends and styles – they already existed.
so today allow me to introduce to you my mother of fashion, which we call THE HANDO.
I have been trying to find the words to describe the fashion war I have been battling inwardly but to date I haven’t found any.
This war has been about how to work Fashion in regards to my culture and how I can incorporate it into some old school and some urban fashion and look fabulous.
Well it hasn’t been easy at all but after some thinking I came to a conclusion that these three eras can stand on their own. When put together they bring fourth the catwalks of Paris, London and New York in Africa.
My ambition has always been to preserve and remember where I came from as I move forward in life. When I put on my hando today people may call it the pleated skirt. Its traditional yet modern, with its top part evolving from a crop top to now a shoulder less top. Trends may come and go but this style that will stay generations to come. And when you do your research right our major trends date way back before we gave them all a name.
THE DIFFERENT COLORS MEAN:
- WHITE – PURITY AND INNOCENCE
- RED – BLOOD
- BLACK – THE PEOPLE
- BLUE – SPIRITUALITY.
Red and black have been considered bad omen colours in some of our cultures but think really hard how their combination has looked stunning over the years. So when I am asked to describe them, I would say red is that ruby that we all want to buy for that one true love we have and black stands for the amazing black gold. It is crude to most of us but lovely at the same time.
With all that said and done let me introduce the Kishutu to you.
So what is a Kishutu, if I may ask?
If I mention a Kente we would all think Nigeria, so that is what the Kishutu is to us, our Kente.
The Kishutu is a type of lesso/Kanga the county of Kilifi or otherwise known as 003 has chosen to be their fabric. The Fabric they proudly and elegantly wear in different designs depending on one’s style.
For this shoot I decided to play around with it, my first wear was a high collar sleeveless midi dress, that speaks elegance, modernity but also at the same time gives me a sense of origin which is my culture. If asked I would say that every woman should have such a dress, one that gives them poise and courage to walk the earth, when worn with the right accessories one could clearly say they are queens incarnate.
Have you always wondered what to wear at home when doing household chores or even relaxing but still look amazing at the same time?
Well look no more, I introduce to you the Dera.
The dera is a free dress that comes in various free sizes used by the coastal women. It comes in all variety of colors with an extra piece of cloth that can be used as a scarf or a head gear.
I promise you this dress has a way of making women feel free and amazing at the same time. Its modesty and elegance never disappoints.
Though not a Muslim or Mswahili, i was born and raised in a city where the majority of people are.
For most of us, the must have dress is the little black dress but for the Waswahili/Muslim women it’s the buibui.
Their style is cool and also demure and when we were on this shoot we had to do it justice.
Also known as the Abaya, is a common attire among Muslim ladies across the globe.
An elegant item of clothing worn by Muslim women, consisting of a long black dress and a piece of black cloth known as the hijab that covers the head showing only the face or eyes
Due to fashion evolution, the buibui and the hijab have evolved to different amazing colors and embroidered too.
Its origin in the coast of Africa was due to the visit of the Arabs on arrival to do trade with the indigenous coastal people.
I would describe it as a glamourous dress that the women wear with elegance and great honour.
When you slip into it you feel graceful and pure with utmost comfort.
Comfortable yet fashionable that is what I would call the inspiration behind this article and shoot.
For me fashion is an art and so for this style I decided to use a piece of Kanga/lesso which is a long colorful printed cloth known as the kishutu (which is a Mijikenda fabric) to make a skirt that flows and shows my curves at the same time.
For many years the kanga cloth has persisted as the favorite cloth for Swahili women.
For the hijab I decided to use a white piece of cloth that speaks purity and modesty.
Why use it as a crop top? To represent the island and fun beach life that we celebrate each day.
It’s a perfect outfit for a romantic stroll on the sandy beaches, with the wind blowing over it.
Pamba which is the swahili word for cotton is a unique brand that specializes in the uniqueness of gowns and dresses with a unique origin. getting their inspiration from the Kishutu and Kaftans which a two diverse cultures but also elegant and alluring.