Category: Ethnic

Ikat x

The word ‘ikat’ derives from the Malay-Indonesian word ‘mengikat’ which translates as to tie or bind.

The creative process is an oxymoron where the finished result is a blurred image but the techniques are complex requiring tying, dyeing, untying, re-tying and dying again of the multiple threads in precise colours and positions.

The finished work is fluid, vibrant and capture a certain spirit.

(All pictures Pinterest)

Colourful shadows in a neon-lit world.

Laters, Kate x

Penny Winter x

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Looking through old posts is a bit like looking through an old address book – you see people you must catch up with again.  I wonder what Penny Winter is doing now..

It’s rare that I don’t use my own words for a post…but then Penny Winter is a rare beast and an endangered species.  I first came across her work when exploring one of my favourite Labels Edun – for their SS14 Collection she designed and produced the horn & crystal neck cuff as worn by Helena Christensen above at her workshop in Nairobi and it piqued my interest.  So in her own words – because nothing should be left out – please meet the incredible Penny Winter…

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‘I was born in Belfast and grew up there through our ‘troubles’. After studying costume design and corsetry at LCF I landed my first job at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford where I was making period costumes and pattern drafting for the theatre.I moved back to London and took a similar job at the English National Opera, before the big move to Kenya.My boyfriend at the time was a journalist and we together with our backpacks moved out without looking back.I fell in love with Kenya, he didn’t and left after a few months. 
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(Photo Touko Sipilainen)
My corserty came into play thereafter, I started a small workshop making  18thcentury shaped corsets from vintage Africa cloth, Bacuba cloth from Congo,raffia from Ivory Coast, snakeskin,fishskin, and Maasai inspired beaded corsets.We,(Paul, my now husband and I) travelled all over central and west Africa on the lookout for interesting trims and weaves.People heard about these unusual pieces and I produced a lot of them  for cool weddings, big parties, and people also just bought them to hang in their bedrooms as art.During this time I worked on films such as The Constant Gardener, The Last King of Scotland,and local tv productions.Since then the workshop has grown and we make clothes for the Kenya jetters and international clients. Our signature coat, the Audrey coat which in it’s original form was  handwoven wool/linen with a beaded cuff, has evolved and can be found this season in dark burgundy velvet.We are also known well for our evening dresses which tend to be of a more bohemian style. Our clients include names such as Uma Thurman,Sylvia Fendi, Helena Christensen, and one of our gowns was at Buckingham palace for William and Kate’s wedding evening party.
 African Jewellery, Tribal Jewellery, Kenyan Jewellery, Raw Amethest Labradite Ruby Rubies Black Turmaline Afican Sapphire White topaz Light horn, Dark Horn, gold, faceted Stone, Labradorite, Bone, Moonstone Agate, Rutilated Quartz,Labradorite ring
In 2007 we were approached by SUNO to start their brand here which we got up and running, we produced the first six collections for them. In addition to  the fashion label I co-design and produce the Ashley Pittman collection sold in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, a feat against odds as we are constantly struggling with power outages,water shortages etc, and the day to day chaos of running a large scale, hand crafted business in central Nairobi. I employ around 200 people who take great pride in selling their work I design in top stores around the world.I work closely with our various teams whether it be a horn workshop in rural Kenya, to downtown chaos, busy and noisy, but always fun. I take most pride in the fact I have through relentless efforts, managed to instill the discipline  and work ethic it takes, to our teams to work in the real world, providing top notch products which they can take pride in, on time, without any form of charity.We are competing with world known brands, except without any of the advantages, in Africa.
This is my first solo jewellery collection, outside of my Ngong House boutique, which is my husband’s small hotel, on the outskirts of Nairobi, just under the Ngong Hills. 
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My husband Paul and I have three children.(Charlie, Leyla and Amber). Apart from our work, we have built a clinic and a primary school, thanks to charitable donations in the Kibwezi area of rural Kenya, where we also have a defunct farm and tree plantation.We found the place around ten years ago on a trip back from Kilimanjairo, camped there and now have large safari tents which we use instead of a house.The clinic now has a catchment area of about 70mile radius, there are absolutely no other medical facilities in this area, and we are currently developing a maternity wing. Holidays are mainly at Amber House Lamu, which we restored from a 300year old Swahili villa, in the Old Town Lamu. My passion is sailing so that’s what I do when I go there.’

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She is one of those truly remarkable people that inspires just by breathing.  I can’t help but wonder when a film of her life will be made…

In awe, Kate x

Full Spectrum x

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I’m being distracted by everything Mexican folk art.  Not surprising with Day of the Dead just around the corner, but it’s an art form I cherish.

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Honed and loved into existence, it’s a buzz that can gather and turn something simple into to a jewel.

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There’s exuberance, simplicity, ingenuity and joy: It’s life.

Laters, Kate x

Mochi x

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There are many kinds of happiness in the world..I’ve just spent an utterly lazy, child-free weekend with the husband that I refuse to regret as I look aghast at the weeks to-do list, slightly lower down that list of love is my passion for beautiful embroidery and textiles..which is all the more ring-starred when it can be married to intelligent, bridging the distance fashion.

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Mochi is a brand whose identity lies deep in the love of ancient embroidery and needle craft.  It was set up by Palestinian Mochi Ayah Tabai to produce visually stunning, wearable clothes that celebrate world-wide stitching communities.

 

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Handcrafted by local artisans in their own countries, Mochi isn’t a melting pot of ideas but an acknowledgement of what each culture has to offer, from Jaipur, Palestine, Thailand, Uzbekistan to Hungary, all items produced are claimed under their own makers.
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A top from Palestine, so easy with a pair of denim shorts.

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A summer dress from Jaipur, ideal to dress up or dress down.

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Shorts from Uzbekistan.

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A crop top and skirt from Thailand.

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They appeal to my love of the past, of inherent quality and the deep vein of romanticism I have running though my middle.

6919e36881b95bf29832084b6d67d5fdIt’s a refreshing change from the polyester re-runs of the high street…we can have more, pay less and think we’re clever…or we can just put up our hands and say what we really love.

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Shibori..

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Yesterday was spent teaching a group of friends (I’m a rep for Charlie’s class) how to shibori tie-dye. It’s something I love to do with its heady mixture of deep indigo, spontaneity, freedom and promise.

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I’ve posted about it before (here) but this year was a little bit different/lessons learnt – the scarfs are longer (2m – possibly the perfect length) and the dye is a new one: If you’re making a large dye bath with the more commonly used Dylon, it’s hard to keep the solution warm so I went for a procion dye that works with cold water (it’s the dye they use for batik dying) and it produced excellent results.  If you want more info on dyes and techniques, check out this website  (makes me wish I lived in Bognor)..this is a brilliant craft for kids in the summer..and imagine on duvet covers, sheets..or even larger pieces of furniture! Bella spent her evening after school dying..socks!

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Gloves are always useful..

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This may be old school..but it’s still the best.

Laters, Kate x

Bonkers Boho x

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Boho chic for a bonkers past week..that’s not been helped by my mouse dying (of the computer variety) sigh. I’m still running today..this time to see the tennis at Queens.  Running now to iron my silk dress..

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Just wish I had one of these to layer up..

Laters, Kate x

Ace & Jig x

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Ace and Jig is a fusion of street cred and hippy, contemporary and classic folded together with indian cottons and hand dyed fabrics.

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The label was started by Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson and is based in Brooklyn, New York.  The two met more than 10 years ago as fashion design interns and instantly bonded over their shared love of antique textiles..from ancient, french feedsack bags to Japanese boro quilts.

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They believe in the power of the stripe.

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And they believe in being different. Just delicious.

Laters, Kate x

Sensi x

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Poor kids.  Summer uniform became compulsory on Monday, all light cotton and ankle socks…and it actually snowed here last night.  Not like an alpine blizzard but it actually settled…cars were covered. It’s an issue: Within one day we can experience a years weather: Spring, summer, autumn and winter…it certainly makes for interesting times.

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An ideal outfit would be this dress from Sensi Studio for the summer sun, teamed with a pair of wide legged trousers for the autumn drop (replace or remove as required)..and a duvet for the cold.

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Sensi Studio is a new label for me…I like the fact it utilises Ecuadorian artisans and their many skills with simple lines and interesting additions.

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They also make mean raffia bags and panamas.

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(All pictures Sensi Studio and Net-a-porter)

One to watch.

Laters, Kate x