Local beads, kitenge go high-fashion

The distinct contemporary take on East African bead-work characterised the leather wallets, handbags and sandals showcased by design house Zinj at the recent Tribal Chic.

At the fashion show, Zinj designs featured their “Origin” collection which is inspired by ancient Africa, cave dwelling, rock art and elemental artefacts of ancient times.

Amanda Seel, the fashion director and owner of the brand says that this collection is targeting those thinking about buying something good and unique for themselves or for their family and friends.

“I always strive to create timeless pieces that would never run out of style even with the different seasons and trends in the fashion world. And also provide practical functions for our clients,” says Amanda.

For instance, their handbags are designed for timeless beauty and crafted completely by hand. For functionality, a zipped mobile pocket is located on the outside, so you don’t have to fish around at the bottom of an over-filled bag.

Good sized zip pockets in the interior to keep your valuables safe, they also have shoulder straps that are long enough to go comfortably over your shoulder, even if you are wearing a coat. Inside the bag is lined by a bright light kikoi fabric making it easy to see what is inside your bag. Ms Amanda started Zinj designs out of necessity since she said she was not able to get good quality bags made out of leather.

She is a professionally trained lecturer teaching English literature but her career quickly changed when she arrived at the Coast and fell in love with the culture and their traditional artefacts.

“I have been a lecturer in English literature most of my life and I came to Kenya as a teacher and to be perfectly honest I have never done anything on leather work before but I came here and fell in love with the tradition and their products,” says Ms Amanda.

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