The Eripoto Collection - SS21
On Friday 11th December, Kenyan designer Iona McCreath took to the Arise Fashion Week runway in Lagos, Nigeria, to launch her latest collection for KikoRomeo at the Arise 30 under 30 show. Dubbed the ERIPOTO (Protection in the Maasai language of Maa) Collection, the designer looked at protection in its different forms, from people's need for it and how forms of protection have changed over time. Exploring themes of vulnerability through fluid forms and fabrics, Iona’s designs juxtaposed this with structure and rigidness as she commented on our times.
Being passionate about sustainability and natural fibres, the clothes were made from natural fibres including handweaves from Kisumu-based Pendeza Weaving Project as well as cottons which had been stencil sprayed by Alfred Shikanga, who had also tie dyed others as well as Nubiana Studio, bringing rich diversity to the patterns and textiles. Decorative elements in embroidery, beadwork and hand painting were derived from the shape of a necklace Iona had been given by Namayiana Maasai Women’s Group as a symbol of protection. KikoRomeo’s long-term collaboration with Sudanese fine artist Eltayeb Daw Elbait continued in new shapes and ways with rich hand embroidery on top by ladies from the Kileleshwa Dobi Women group, who also crocheted the extraordinary sisal top and overalls, standing out for their unusual use of fibre and form.
Speaking about the Eripoto collection Iona said, "It’s incredibly important for me to tell the story of the entirety of the fashion value chain. Most often the fashion designer is looked at as the end all, be all. Yet, we are nothing without our teams. I like to use the analogy of music. A fashion designer is like a composer and conductor, you have the vision and the know-how of how to execute it yet you need a multiplicity or different instruments to bring your vision to life. You may be able to play some of those instruments but there’s no way you can compose, conduct and fill the place of a whole orchestra, all at the same time". She also highlighted renowned Nigerian designer Bubu Ogisi for styling the collection and Reed Davis for the photography in Lagos.