In the midst of the fashion art installation Friday madness in Nairobi, Ichyulu, an online store featuring selected African designers, launched its online store and the fashion art installation dubbed Kikulacho Kinguoni Mwako (What’s eating you is within your dress) on 29th January 2016 at the Circle Art Gallery. In collaboration with Chichia London and Arieta Mujay, the installation explored Chichia London’s use of khanga as a communication tool filled with discarded khanga pieces converted into patchwork designs to the creation of bespoke designs, the fashion art installation highlighted the khanga’s journey (transformation) from a piece of fabric into items of clothing.
While trends are nodded to and winked at, Chichia and Arieta are definitely not interested in attempting to replicate that which every other designer and its ilk do so well. Instead, this is a brand with its own point of view designed for the girl who knows her own style and doesn’t take herself too seriously more like ‘Not for Everyone’ style as Papa Petit from 2manysiblings would say. Ichyulu collaborated with 2manysiblings, Kenyan brother and sister duo of Velma Rossa and Papa Petit who boast a deep sense of style forming a new wave of emerging cool creatives, showcasing young & vibrant style in harmony with their Kenyan culture on their Tumblr page for the powerful ad campaigns.
This event was brought to life by Diana Opoti one of the most influential women in Kenyan fashion. Diana’s vast knowledge of the fashion consumer market brought her expertise to a smaller-scale project: new online brand Finery.
In attendance were Fashion blogger Jayson Mbogo, Lyra Aoko, Joy Kendi, Wambui Thimba just to name a few.
Christine Mhando is a Tanzanian-born, London-based designer. Christine launched Chichia London, the ready to wear label that bears her childhood nickname, in 2007 as an amalgamation of both continents and cultures from which the designer was born and raised. Chichia London’s signature transpires from the artful application of the ‘khanga’, a traditional East African cotton-printed fabric. With Beyoncé as a fan, Chichia London goes from strength to strength as an international African brand that modernises and transforms traditional East African textiles into stylish, contemporary and fashionable attire.
Arieta Mujay is a creative consultant who has worked in the fashion industry in the UK and across Africa over the last 15 years. She is currently Head of Communications for Boohoo.com. A former Head of PR for River Island, Arieta worked on the River Island collaboration with Rihanna and was hand picked by Rihanna to go on the 777 tour. Arieta has previously worked as the head stylist for the Lagos Fashion and Design Week, the Creative Director of the 2012 Gaborone Fashion Week in Botswana and featured as a guest judge at the AFI Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg in October 2014. Arieta is a reviewer and contributor for Cosmopolitan Magazine’s online platform, a mentor to young businesses and an avid supporter of female empowerment.
Kikulacho Kinguoni Mwako was open to the public from 30th-1st February 2016 at the Circle Art Gallery.