February 22th, 2023
Black History Month: Meet the Founders
WRITTEN BY GWYNNE WOLGEMUTH
Black History Month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the rich history and culture of African-Americans in the United States. Black History Month serves as an important reminder of the struggles, accomplishments, and milestones of Black Americans, both past and present, to our nation's success and reminds us of the blatant injustices they have faced throughout the years. By learning more about the achievements and struggles of Black Americans, we can continue to fight for equality and work towards a more equitable future.
CHIDI DRESS BY KAHINDO
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This month we want to focus on the rise of African-influenced fashion in the American fashion industry. The integration of African-influences is exemplified by the success of designer Kahindo. Born in Uganda, Kahindo Mateene is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. She is the founder and designer of Kahindo, making all of the brand’s prints in New York City.
“For me, fashion is only as beautiful as the way I treat the female artisans and workers who help me create my line. That means focusing on sustainability and ethical work environments for my global partners, and using the KAHINDO brand as a vehicle to create equity and job opportunities for women. **Together, we share the heart and soul of Africa with the rest of the world through fashion**.”
BAOBAB CROP TOP BY KAHINDO
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Kahindo Mateene helped to create a space in which African culture is celebrated and respected, while also pushing the boundaries of traditional fashion. Her designs are bold, vibrant, and often feature traditional Haitian fabrics, prints, and silhouettes. These designs embody the power of feminity with each collection named after a Haitian term for female empowerment. By creating a space for African culture in fashion, Kahindo is helping to promote a sense of identity and pride amongst Africans.
Since its founding in 2013, Fanm Mon has made incredible strides in empowering Haitian women. Under the leadership of founder Sophia Demirtas, Fanm Mon has implemented innovative artisan techniques and custom sizing solutions that have been widely praised. Demirtas has developed a unique approach to her craft, which she has been able to use to create products that stand out from the rest.
TLOS BY FANM MON
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As a Caribbean woman, nature has always been captivating to me. And learning how to nourish myself from nature - in real backyard-to-table fashion - is a part of my upbringing that will never leave me. This deep reverence for nature is indelibly embedded in Fanm Mon.