Hamaji The Nomad
HAMAJI THE NOMAD
A KENYAN LOVE STORY
Photo Credit: S/S19 Lamu Collection
Photographer: J’Dee Allin
SOL is thrilled to introduce its first Spotlight brand featuring Kenyan based fashion label Hamaji The Nomad.
Hamajis’ beautiful hand crafted bohemian frocks perfectly transpire the founder Luoise Sommerlatte’s aesthetics: A free spirited, adventurous woman always on the move through the vast and soulful plains of Africa.
The brand also possesses a behind-the-seams culture to boot, working closely with local Kenyan artisans and making sure that each piece is sustainably made.
Louise spoke to SOL about Hamaji and the latest S/S19 Lamu collection, aptly named and inspired by the small village on Lamu island in the Kenyan archipelago.
We cannot wait to get our hands on one of the gorgeous Hamaji dresses!
Tell us a little bit more about the name Hamaji the Nomad?
Hamaji means Nomad in Swahili, a person without a permanent home. It derives from the word Kuhama, which means to shift- always on the go.
How would you describe the brand’s ideal woman?
A free spirited, adventurous, natural woman.
Africa plays a backdrop to each collection- can you give us a little more insight into the inspiration for the latest collection.
My latest SS19 collection, Lamu is inspired by a small island in an archipelago off the Kenyan coast near Somalia. It is one of the oldest Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa with Arab and Portuguese influence. The Arab Swahili style was a big inspiration, living on an island travelling only by donkey and on a dhow, the colourful jovial Swahili people, their jewellery and exquisite architecture. The journey to Lamu and the general ambience you experience when traveling though Kenya inspired my collection of ready to wear, safari chic coastal apparel.
Where can one keep up with the colourful world of Hamaji?
The best way to keep up with Hamaji would be through my Instagram @hamaji_thenomad
If you could choose 1 must-have items from the S/S collection what would it be and why?
Ooh it’s tough, haha. I would have to say the Suswa Set, I am all about matching it up these days. You can wear the set for so many occasions, day or night, smart and casual, and always feel comfortable and look elegantly stylish at the same time.
Can you tell us a little more about Hamaji’s behind-the-seams culture?
Hamaji works with a variety of independent local artisans throughout Kenya. Our main studio is based on the foot hills of Mt. Kenya where all the designs and patterns come to life, after that I send it off to various women groups and tailors to do the stitching. The embroidery is done by a small group of artisans in a slum in Nairobi. All in all i work with 6 artisans across Kenya, the team is small but works wonderfully.
How would you like to see your brand in the future?
I would love to keep on seeing my brand grow in an organic way, to be able to keep supporting and working with local artisans in Africa, spreading the Hamaji style to those around me, and being able to share my own African vision through my designs and lifestyle. I have always had an obsession with tents so one day I hope to make Hamaji into a lifestyle brand. Living out of a Bedouin tent adorned head to toe in Hamaji.
Finally three words of advice to anyone wanting to start their own brand.
Persistence, courage, determination. Believe in yourself, and never never give up! Nothing good is ever easy.