Saturday, 24 April 2010

Kenema’s conscience...

Just a sentence to let you know that...

Working with a conscience to create opportunity for all is one of the key principles of the Kenema brand, even our promotional merchandise is being manufactured in Sierra Leone!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blast off!!! (well nearly!!)

Hey people, we are bursting with excitement. Even nature can't hold us back!

At the beginning of the week the Kenema team were anxiously awaiting news on this volcanic ash situation. Although we firmly believed that nothing could hold us back there was a slight sense of OH MY LIFE WE ARE NOT GONNA MAKE IT!! Seriously, we always knew that we would be ok but all the drama got us slightly concerned...

Kenema's journey thus far has been so organic, everything has seemed to fall into place which gives us great hope about our future and the future of those we work with and support into independence. Whilst we are aware that there will be challenges ahead we know that this was meant to be. We have faith in our unit (which works beautifully), our products and our ethos. These factors are hugely motivational for us.

Anyway the moral of this post is that we are flying out to beautiful Sierra Leone on Sunday to begin our adventure. I am hoping we can make enough stock in the short time we have, as we already have pre-orders based on descriptions alone! If you want a maxi dress, full length jumpsuit, playsuit or tulip skirt you better holla as soon as we post the pictures as we have a number of orders for these items (don't worry we have other items too), this is no propaganda or marketing spin we seriously have pre-orders! If you snooze you loose.

The Kenema Team.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Just so you know...

Kenema is pronounced "Keh-neh-ma"

Kenema is a district in Sierra Leone, West Africa and was particularly ravaged by the war that took place in the 1990’s. Kenema is the diamond mining area of Sierra Leone so the reasons for trying to take over this area go without saying. Consequenlty there are a disproportionate number of people that are now amputees as a result of ‘rebels’ cutting off people’s limbs as punishment or warning.

Despite this life goes on, diamonds are still mined people still exist and live a little at times. The name Kenema was chosen as the area is rich with natural resources such as diamonds and iron, it was also chosen as there is a certain reslience amongst the people of Kenema which is rare, just like a diamond! Kenema & Co’s products are a reflection of the rich natural resources, quality and strength of Kenema district.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

About Kenema & Co's designer

When Alizé was a little girl, she would trace design after design in her scrapbook etching every last detail with her felt tips. Dreaming of a life far removed from her own Alizé became infatuated with fiction, writing stories and poems to express how she really felt. Make believe was the escape she had created and consequently carried through into her artistic career.

Alizé Demange is the Designer/ Creative Director of Kenema & Co. Her influences derive mainly from her family home and cultural background. Her grandmother pushed her interest in clothes allowing her to trawl through endless amounts of vintage furs, shoes and trunks filled with dresses and accessories. It was while playing dress up that she realised how important clothes were in society, “Nowadays you don’t have to say anything to let people know who you are. What we wear has become the biggest statement, making fashion more important and exciting than ever before”.

Growing up in West London, at 14 years old she started customizing jumpers for friends at school, looking up to the urban clothing lines that had started around her. Vowing to enroll into art school running away from ‘normal’ and ‘ordinary’, fashion became an outlet for her overgrown imagination. “I love fashion because of the satisfaction I feel when I watch someone wear what I’ve created. In a sense they are wearing my message, concept, statement and become like a patron of my ideas”.

Aiming for a long career in fashion design Alizé can only go skyward … watch this space!

Creative Director

About Kenema & Co

Kenema and Co is an idea that was born of a passing comment by a friend who saw me wearing a beautiful dress made by an innovative Sierra Leonean seamstress using beautiful African fabric. The comment was, ‘babe you should find out about importing some more of those dresses’, in that moment (24th June 2009 – my birthday!!) an idea was born.

I have always loved fashion but have never been particularly fashionable, I like what I like and know that good shapes and material are key to beautiful clothing, as such I decided that merely importing someone else’s idea would not be enough for my imagination (which is huge and constant!). I decided that I would aim to combine contemporary design with African “Ankara” fabric creating stylish clothing and home ware, think cool and understated at one end and bold and vibrant at the other.

Working hand in hand with Alizé Demange, a wonderful up and coming London based designer with fresh ideas that do not alienate REAL women. She has a knack for creating shapes that flatter combining fashion with style. Whilst she creates great shapes for women she has also designed a range of age appropriate clothing, steering away from the trend of children’s clothes that look like smaller versions of adults apparel.

Being of Sierra Leonean parentage I was (am) very passionate about supporting Sierra Leone and other African countries by enabling business people to provide products, goods and services in exchange for FAIR pay. Making it possible for African business owners to sustain themselves without relying on handouts. I have a particular interest in supporting female business owners like myself to progress within their chosen field and experience independence.

Kenema & Co works in conjunction with The Fifty Fifty Group ( ) based in Sierra Leone. The Fifty Fifty Group Sierra Leone is a non-partisan campaign for more women in politics and public life through training and advocacy. Our links with this group entails supporting young women in accessing education and services that will enable them to develop the confidence and acumen to make informed political decisions. More details of our charitable work will follow.

The ethos that underpins Kenema & Co is quality for the consumer and equality for the manufacturer.

Founder Kenema & Co