This collection serves as the first part of a continuing series that looks to explore the Swahili and their forgotten parts. To understand through art and fashion the influence they had over the continent and the rest of the globe and to unpack the level of advancement of their civilisation and how from holding such a vital role in trade and the interaction of peoples globally, they came to have much of their history silenced.
Through my exploration I have looked to focus on elements of adornment which are key in the cultural expression of the Swahili. Through this I have picked on elements within their architecture, jewellery and traditional textiles which I have used to inform and develop my own series of prints and forms of adornment which I have used throughout the collection.
The prints that feature in this collection were inspired by traditional Swahili prints as well as patterns and symbols that are present in traditional Swahili architecture and jewellery. The digital prints are designed on the principles of the traditional Kanga. It features a Swahili proverb as well as a prominent pattern in the central part of the fabric and a derivative along the border. The batik prints feature symbols derived from jewellery and forms of adornment as well as traditional Swahili architecture. These prints are put together both with the principles of the Kanga but also as a more haphazard combination of symbols to communicate the layering that is seen in traditional Swahili dress aesthetics.
Photographed by Harrison Thane at The Kasbah House in Lamu, Kenya.
Models: Anyier Anei, Lorains Mercy and Jumah Jatteh.
Creative Director: Iona McCreath
Producer: Ann McCreath
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