We asked our Head of Design & Development, Gladys Macharia, a few questions about her inspiration behind our new Autumn collection & what new pieces stand out this season.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this season's colors?
Our Autumn colors were inspired by evenings in Kenya when the sun starts to set. The colors and hues of our landscapes and cityscapes seem to grow more concentrated. They take on a depth and intensity. The warm camel brown of tents by a campfire, the vibrant Hibiscus Red of local wild flowers, the aqueous Sea Green of Lake Naivasha, the earthy Sage color of native grasses, and the inky Midnight sky after the last of bit daylight fades away…..all have a richness that we find deeply satisfying. This is an homage to the beauty of our surroundings at the end of a good day.
What are you most excited about for this new collection?
I am most excited about is the continuous growth of skills that the Mum's are able to show us as our product line grows.
Tell us about a new bag?
The Mum's learned to create our new shopper called the Naivasha Tote. A more versatile & bigger sister to our best selling Nairobi tote. We love that is big enough to go to the gym in the mornings and for a quick weekend getaway. We really thought about the functionality for our new bags. Easy to use & well organized to keep you on the go.
Tell us about where we source our leather?
I have been working with one of the oldest tanneries in Kenya for just over a year in order to get a beautiful Vegetable Tan leather to introduce into our collections. It is extremely important for me to engage and challenge suppliers I work with to explore new methods and techniques. My design ethos is guided by thinking about the footprint we leave behind on the planet, which is why each year I find new methods to work with that are sensitive to the needs of the environment.
How many Mum's are trained in leather work?
We have 7 Maker Mum's and 3 Maker Men all of whom have graduated from our Leather Training Program. We were able to showcase their new skills throughout our new Autumn bag collection.
We have a new addition to our bracelet offering this season, the Micro Mrembo. It is our slimmest bracelet to date, what is new?
When I joined Ubuntu it was clear that Ubuntu had a special connection with the Maasai communities. One of Ubuntu's key products is our hand-beaded bracelet that has empowered hundreds of Maasai women in job creation through beading.
After working with locally sourced beads, I wanted to give our clients a wider depth of colors and textures and give the women we work with, new and interesting materials to work with. That is where my idea to incorporate the micro bead came to be. It was so much fun & I love how sleek it is, it really shines.
Tell us about the Gold beads we are using this season?
I wanted to sprinkle a Jeweler’s touch through our beaded bracelets. I studied Gold Smithing and Gemology in Florence and I have worked with precious stones & metals for years. So when we found these amazing 24K plated beads, I couldn't say no to them. They add such a warmth to our collection & I love the craftsmanship.