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Fashion Spotlight: Kenyan Designer Liz Ogumbo

The Rekebisha Collection by Liz Ogumbo oozes out an inner confidence from within

African fashion week New York 2013 is only a few weeks away and already we can’t get enough of the fashion and beauty on display from Africa’s brightest designers. One of the designers we have grown to love is Kenyan designer, stylist, performing artist and author, Liz Ogumbo. Recently, Liz Ogumbo-Regisford partnered with Saris For Good Karma - a new direction to bring ethical fashion to a whole new level through a chic red-carpet look and feel, inspired, designed and produced in Africa by Africa. While creating room to flirt with the non-conventional approach to modern-day-2-day style, the Rekebisha Collection by Liz Ogumbo oozes out an inner confidence from within. We caught up with the designer to talk about her journey as a designer, the challenges African designers face in such a competitive industry and why it’s important to her to showcase her collection in New York.

According to the designer, I believe less is more when you ooze confidence, hence I have minimized fuss and accented the beauty of our individuality as beautiful women TODAY. My philosophy through what we wear is that every day should be celebrated as an opportunity to make our mark.

ZeN: Where are you from and how has this influenced your designs?
Liz: I am from Kenya, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, hence the collaboration with SFGK, a Durban-based organization. I believe I am definitely grounded in my Kenyan roots, heritage and culture and therefore you will see some influences from East Africa such as the leso dominating through the collection. In this “Rekebisha collection”, I flirt with Saris, lesos, kitenge, raffia and a few other fabrics to come up with an interesting collage of what I perceive as new age style!

ZeN: Name 3 of your favourite things to do?
Liz: Fine dining and wining, Holidaying in the South Coast of Mombasa or Thailand’s warm seas, and following everything about music and fashion

ZeN: What is African Fashion to you?
Liz: Any style inspired by Africa from our fabrics, to weaving techniques that bring fabrics such as kikoi to life, grass weaving, our amazing beads and the beadwork that comes with it

ZeN: Where can we purchase your items?
Liz: You can purchase my garments on 36Boutiques.com OR on our website (Website details Below)

ZeN: What celebrity would you dress if you could?
Liz: The goddesses out there….. {LOL} Is Iman anywhere around? If I could dress Iman that would be magical.

ZeN: What has been your challenges as a designer?
Liz: Production and manufacturing are by far my biggest challenges, however because of the passion I have for fashion, I push on and put in my best every day to keep things going.

ZeN: Why do you want to show in New York? Why is it important to you?
Liz: It’s important to penetrate into different markets to sustain and enhance brand growth. Africa Fashion Week NYC is a new market for me and my partner “Saris For Good Karma.” We therefore look forward to making the experience a success. We look forward to attracting new buyers and making our mark out there through a MAJOR retail presence in New York.

ZeN: What materials did you use for this collection?
Liz: We used Saris, Lesos also known as Kanga (or khanga) and Kitenge African wax print

ZeN: What makes your brand sustainable and/or ethical?
Liz: Rekebisha by Liz Ogumbo for SFGK” is a collaboration with “Saris for Good Karma.’ Indian women all over South Africa are continuously donating their old saris to Saris for Good Karma and so far, over 2,000 Saris have been donated since 2010. Founded by Kanchana Moodliar, the projects aim is to teach underprivileged women how to sew using the saris as raw material, hence giving them a chance to acquire a skill they can use to earn an income. It also aims to teach them how to run their own small business/home industry and since the fabric is the most expensive part in the whole garment creation, the saris donated minimizes the cost. Often the women leave the project skilled enough to join the manufacturing industry workforce or independently work within their community examples include hemming, sewing uniforms, yoga bags, shirts, and other garments. SFGK supports women in starting their own small home industry by subsidizing their purchase of a domestic sewing and offering them saris to sew whenever they require

ZeN: What makes you the designer and/or your brand innovative?
Liz: The ability to keep introducing fresh cuts/designs constantly into the market on a day-2-day basis for all age groups, personalities, and skin tones. We spend a lot of time consulting with women to help enhance/elevate their energy and image; the basics around how to “feel good because you look good”. We also encourage women to send their garments to us when they gain/lose weight for an eco-friendly face-lift through recycling of the garments, bringing in a new touch that looks and feels even better that before.

Liz Ogumbo’s ethical collection “REKEBISHA” will be showcasing under the brand “Liz Ogumbo for SFGK” at AFWNY 2013 in July.

 

Connect with Liz on Facebook: Liz Ogumbo – KenSoul
Follow her on Twitter: @LizOgumbo
For more info, Visit her Website:  http://www.lizogumbo.com/

Save the Dates Friends: Africa Fashion Week New York 2013 Runway Show will be from July 18th, 19th, and 20th 
Location: New York Financial district at 41 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004

Visit www.afwny.com or www.adiree.com for more information!!

Follow hastags on Twitter: #AfricanFashion | #AfricanDesigner | #Fashion | #AFWNY| #Zenmagazine for more information. 

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