The inspiration for Eripoto came to me from the situations we have all been placed in this year. A commentary on our times, we’ve all been searching for protection through a year of feeling incredibly vulnerable. A vulnerability that has presented itself in a number of ways, whether be it the fragility of life and how fleeting it can be, to the vulnerability of loneliness that many
have faced through several months of lockdown and isolation.
We all experience fear in different ways and react to it differently. Yet this year, there has been a common source of fear, which in turn has built a sense of global community yet at the same time has forced many new divides and fear of the “other”.
Through this collection I wanted to explore what it means to be vulnerable and how we present it on our exterior. You can be weak in your vulnerability, but you too can be strong. Vulnerability and give you strength and power in allowing you to be you and shine through.
This is illustrated in the collection through the use of opacity and transparency, the duality the two present accentuated with layering as well as the use of fluid and structured silhouettes to challenge our beliefs around dress and how we present ourselves to the world outside us. What’s deemed as acceptable and what’s not and how we subsequently react.
Earlier this year I helped conduct an art auction and one of the pieces submitted was a Maasai necklace that you give to someone for good luck/well wishes. This became my main source of inspiration for my textiles and cut outs within the collection. I find it intriguing to look at how our societies and cultures have morphed over generations and try to understand it more. The idea around the protection of self is something that is ever present, we’ve always had different ways of protecting ourselves and shielding ourselves and there must be a reason for that. For it to transcend through so many different peoples.
Yet, looking at our world now, we’ve lost touch with that side of ourselves, our ancestry our connection to what is bigger than the individual. For some it’s spiritual, others religious and others something different. But this lack of attachment and grounding I feel is what has caused so many rifts and negative shifts between us. Looking at a time like now, an object of protection could be said to be a phone, yet we’ve seen that it can in fact bring you as much bad as it can good. This what do we have amongst us as an increasingly digitising race that keeps us centred, grounded and shielded from harm?
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.
The people behind the face of the brand are equally as important as it’s face. We all need each other in order to function, right from the farmer to the end consumer. I would like to be in an industry where someone has as great a passion to be a tailor as they do a designer and both professions looking at each other with the same amount of respect.
The materials are everything and I cannot stress that enough. You could make the same item in two different fabrics and it will look completely different. The texture and the feel of the material are a vital part of the vision.
I think there needs to be more emphasis placed on communication around different types of materials and the emotions they invoke when you wear them. This is the same for the longevity of the garment, high quality materials last for generations if looked after properly. We really cannot still be in a world that consumes fast fashion guilt-free.
At KikoRomeo we use natural fibres and it’s my mission to contribute to the development of the sustainable textile industry in Kenya. Our potentials are endless, yet we lack the resources to get us to where we should be. I recently completed a piece of research for Fashion Revolution Kenya that looks into this.
Featuring Faith, Dami and Natse photographed by Reed Davis and styled by Bubu Ogisi.
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