Showing posts with label East African Designers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East African Designers. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Swahili Chic SS14 in Utilitarian Style!

A touch of the 60's
                                                           
I always loved the idea of having zips,  I have done so in most of my garments.  It is indeed one of a strong element in my label.
I was contemplating about this look for a while, but did not know how to put pen to paper to describe it!  The look totally depends on how you accessorize it.  Depending on how one styles it, you can give it a business or playful look!  
Street Luks SS12
 Most of my clothing has one thing in common, the continuous use of "zips".   The zip-it coat dresses has been the signature of most of the Anna Luks label, all the way into my current collection of SS14 called Swahili Chic! 
Born and bred in the Swahili Land (Dar-es-Salaam) in East Africa, the Swahili Chic is a fusion of the native fabric with the Anna Luks touch.  On this collection, I continued to make use of my native fabric Khanga to bring out a simple but chic urban look.  
I have spoken about the Swahili culture several times in my earlier posts. This fabric has a rich history which I did point out a few here. 
The Masculine Style
The utilitarian feel of this collection has been adopted and made feminine.  The simple silhouette is halved by chunky zips, which makes it look masculine yet feminine and attractive.   The cut has a sophisticated looseness totally inspired from the 1960's elegance with its focus on its high alluring neckline that gives it a raw urban look.  The look is adaptable, can be worn as a dress or layered with shorts, trousers, be it baggy or skinny, long or short skirts depending on the style you want for the day. 
Binzari AW13
The look is completely versatile can be dressed up or down and still keep the chic anytime, a reminiscent of Twiggy!  http://blog.egocloset.com/2012/03/26/style-muse-retro-twiggy/
Fabrics used in this collection, naturally, are the cottons, printed and plain, light and heavy, silk linen, jersey and spandex.





 Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek
Swahili Chic SS 2014








Model:  Angelica Valenzuela de Brown
Hair & Makeup:  Violet Zeng
Photographed: John Hylton



Sunday, 10 February 2013

Swahiliness in Swahililand



 In the 21st century, to be referred as Mswahili is far from a compliment.  To be called "Mswahili" is a form of scorn. Mswahili is a person who will not keep their promises, time inefficient, careless and anything negative!  Literally, if one says Mswahili, it should mean " A Swahili Person" ;just like when we refer to a person born and bred in London as being  "A Londoner" or a Cockney speaker, etc.  I personally identify myself as a Swahili woman so that will make me a "Mswahili" and very proud of it!!  This little post will tell you exactly why.
Myself (center) with my Swahili sisters representing, at the River Thames Carnival in London September 2010

Being born and raised in Dar es Salaam on the East African Swahili coast there are times when I reminisce on the uniqueness of the Swahili culture, its traditional music and dance, visual arts, cuisine and of course fashion; a collage of daily activities, depending on where you are. You would see women weaving mats, baskets, pounding corn or vegetables to prepare meals.
You would also encounter  ladies and young girls decorating themselves with henna or braiding hair and  actually the cost of braiding is not that exorbitant in these neighbourhoods. Knowing that, someday you could return the favour. You would see men enjoying a game of “bao”, young boys with their creative engineering skills constructing a “car” using materials they have found in the neighbourhood, men scaling palm trees for fresh coconuts which are peeled and cracked open for  refreshing drinks, etc! Oh, how I miss that!
As for the music and dance … on weekends you could bump into a group of people getting together with their musical instruments and just having fun! I remember when we used to live in a particular area in Dar-es-Salaam called Magomeni,  it was disastrous in a good way!  You would be in the house minding your own business and my word; you hear these hypnotic sounds of drumming and singing, the wonderful sounds of Gombe Sugu, Beni, Mkwaju- Ngoma (later on was replaced by Mdundiko) and of course Mdumange, passing outside your street, before you know it you have slipped out of the back door and enjoyed the carnival… destination unknown!!!  I used to get into a lot of trouble for that, I can laugh about it now.   


Beni man


Proper Beni going on here!!!  
  I am so grateful that I had the full Swahili experience when we moved from Oyster bay to this typical Swahili area of Magomeni; It felt strange in the beginning, as the two areas are totally opposite to each other, after few months being a child, I adapted, and boy, I loved it!.  This is the area where all these carnivals used to happen on our street, sometimes it could be too many in a day, but hey.... it swept me alright.  I remember once going as far as Mwembe Chai with my neighbour friend called Mwana Hamisi.  That is when I really got smacked by my dad because we came back late; around 6-ish... and boy no child was allowed out of the house during those times.

Hey! Those by gone years Taarab a typical Swahili genre sort of music was on the scene; nowadays it is Bongo Flava – a combination of both Swahili and Western forms. 
I will not talk much of the mouth -watering cuisine cooked with local spices! The fresh fish from the Indian Ocean, available at the open fish market along Kigamboni beach. This can be picked fresh fish to be prepared at home  or  grilled right there; or roasted (grilled) corn and cassava chips, fresh vegetables,  fruits (i.e. different types of mangos, bananas), etc . I could go on, but you get the picture.
When it comes to fashion, women like to adorn themselves with Khanga, which continues to be recognized as traditional attire as well as Vikoi (kikoi, singular) mostly worn by men, a pride of Swahili women and men. 
 There is a lot of history about the Khanga fabric which I had written about in my earlier blogs.  I am proud to highlight that Khanga continues to  maintain its status as it enters into the 21st century.  We  designers use this traditional fabric  in the revolutionary styles of today.
With that I say,  please enjoy some of the snippets of the Swahili Flavour.


Men playing Bao



Women Catching up / sharing...



Going for coconut (someone has to do it!)


Photographer waiting for her coconut juice prepared by Juma.

Coconut  leaf weaving was one of my favorite pass time when we went out to the farm, few miles from Dar.  Nothing goes to waste!
Basket weaved from the coconut leaves



Sokoni  (At the market)

oooh my favourite! Raw mangoes with pili-pili to give the flavour!




Rice doughnut (Vitumbua)
Vitumbua!! My Swahili breakfast special, love them! 

Young ladies getting ready for dance

Fish Market


Simply colurful! I hope you have enjoyed the post!
Kwaheri kwa sasa!
X


Images courtesy of:
Maggid Mjengwa - Maggid Mjengwa.com
Ruth Masunya Lukindo
Ehster Sabuni
Amita Kilumanga
The Swahili Coast Magazine