The fashion industry advocates the public “pick the right piece” and “be beautiful.” We’re in the era were fashion trends work for you more than ever and styles have become increasingly elaborate — as is this very fashionable new collection from Chichia London. We’re all craving for creative attires and we were greatly impressed by Tanzanian Christine Mhando‘s visionary spirit and creativity on her “Project Gauni” collection. It’s fascinating to witness this blend of traditional and alternative cultures, lending to a unique aesthetic that reflects Mhando’s heritage. Pushing the boundaries of design, Mhando’s daring blend of colors, garments choices and intricate pieces have the light touch of a bold woman. We spoke with Christine Mhando below.
What was your inspiration for this new collection?
I was inspired by the art of communication. I looked at the East African Khanga and how the local women use this piece of fabric to send messages to one another by choosing the khanga with the most appropriate saying for whatever situation. When shopping for khangas in the markets, the vendor would usually sell them by pointing out the ones with (what they think) have the best sayings (In Swahili, they’re called ‘Misemo’), rather than by the beauty of the print. I thought it would be fun to explore this side of the khanga.
What materials did you use?
Printed cotton khanga and printed cotton kitenge for the majority of the collection. Also jerseys, silks and viscose.
What is your masterpiece of this new collection?
The one look that most people seem to be going pretty crazy over is the ‘NGOZI’ bodycon dress (with the Swahili sayings print featured on the front panel) worn with the ‘POPO’ printed tailored cape. Ngozi means ‘skin’ and Popo means ‘Bat’ in Swahili.
How are you feeling now that your collection has been released?
Great! We launched the collection here in London at the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week. Chichia and two other London based Tanzanian brands were selected to represent the country during this event. We held a two week exhibition at the Tanzanian High Commission which turned out to be a highly appropriate venue. The AW13 collection has had a wonderful reaction from the Industry as well as the Tanzanian community.
What do you think are the current trends for A/W 13?
I’ve spotted a lot of shiny things… Metallics, leathers, pleathers, Perspex… all bright and shiny!
What tips do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
I would say get some experience to learn the business and craft. Also take time to figure out who you are as a designer. There’s a difference between drawing inspiration from something and downright copying..
Describe your A/W 13 collection in one word