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
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
that I say, please enjoy some of the
snippets of the Swahili Flavour.