Discovering my creative spirit: onward to Bantu Belle

I've never identified myself as a creative - I didn't take any art/design classes and "creating" was not something I did while growing up, but it is a gift I am humbly learning to accept!

You see, for the past two decades, I have pursued a career in Global Health – working with many developing nations, primarily in Africa, to improve their health care systems. As you can imagine, my left brain was in charge here.  

"My journey to discovering my creative spirit has been a long meandering path ─ unplanned, unintentional and unconscious. Pure serendipity! "

While my first bout of creativity came earlier in my high school years, but the notable one was when I started Luxe Papers – a luxury stationery business for special occasions in 2009. I noticed that design came naturally to me, I zoned off in creative lala land and people appreciated my work.k.

Subsequently in 2011, myself and sister friends Lucy, Madeline, and Irene, founded and organized Dar Fashion Festival, a 3-day fashion extravaganza, which among other things, aimed to showcase fashion designers - this turned out to be a notable success albeit only lasting two years.

As of recent, after a long hiatus focusing on being a mama to 3 lovely boys, I  became fixated by what is possible for African patterns. While I did not grow up regularly dressing in traditional African attire, I grew fond of the lavish bold colors and patterns that embrace many of the African fabrics (Kitenge, Kanga, Capulana, Ankara, Netele, Shweshwe, Kikoi etc.). But, I saw there is more to be done for African patterns – for instance, can they be as popular as the droplet-like Persian/Indian motif? Can these patterns go beyond fabric? This is the impetus for Bantu Belle – to be inspired by African traditional creative art and design and make contemporary clothing and accessories that I and others will proudly wear. The mission is grandiose but the future is exciting :-)!

Thou shalt not dry the creative well!

 


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