Prêt-À-Poundo Exclusive: Chinedesign's New Collection 'Marrakesh'

Designer Chinedu Ukabam, founder of the label Chinedesign, gives us the premiere of his new collection “Marrakesh,” named after the major Moroccan city.

Designer Chinedu Ukabam, founder of the label Chinedesign is giving us the premiere of his new collection "Marrakesh," named after the major Moroccan city. Ukabam visited Morocco a few years ago, when Marrakesh caught his attention and his heart. "It simultaneously reminded me of all the places that I have spent my childhood in [Middle East, Europe, Africa]. The very first day I walked into the Souk (marketplace) at Djemaa el Fna Jeffna, I made up my mind that I was going to create a collection inspired and named after this city." Ukabam, a smart and sensitive artist, is bridging these timeless forms and patterns with contemporary culture. 

"I love patterns and Marrakesh is covered with geometric tiles like these." he added, "I spent a lot of time walking with my head down and bumping into people while trying to figure out the looping pattern of a sequence. Usually there's just a handful shapes that are symmetrically repeated at different angles to create a new shape. It can take quite a while to "crack the code" but its a lot of fun." You can find more about his inspiration here. His art and new collection speaks of love, patterns and dedication to Marrakesh. All pictures by  Temi-Tade Kujore.



6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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