Kenema – African-inspired unisex streetwear collection debut

Interlude is Kenema’s debut unisex collection of streetwear, inspired by a love of 90s hip-hop and RnB and a celebration of the cultural foundations rooted by the music of the decade. The collection – comprised of a shirt and trouser set, bomber jacket, and t-shirt – takes on the space where gender becomes ambiguous and the clothes are shared.

“With Interlude I’m exploring the androgynous aesthetic that was so big in a lot of 90s fashion,” says Kenema founder Tamu Thomas.

The shirt and pants, £95.00 and £105.00
The shirt and trousers make an undiluted African – almost animal – print easy to wear. The shirt is oversized, making a silhouette synonymous with 90s UK clubland. The trousers take a more modern tailored cut and create a contemporary fitted shape. Perfect to inject a bold dash of colour into the winter wardrobe.

Bomber jacket, £175
The reversible bomber jacket is perfect to switch seamlessly between day and night. Choose between a black and grey geometric Ase Oke fabric from Nigeria, or black and white hand woven Country Cloth from Sierra Leone, fused with neoprene arms on one side or a dazzling African print in wax cotton; a truly inventive juxtaposition of fabrics. The Country Cloth is produced in a rural area of Sierra Leone by a lady called Martha Kenneh. Martha weaves the cloth using a hand loom, making it a real heritage fabric with this method having been used for generations. The cotton comes straight from the cotton trees which is then hand spun and dyed accordingly.

T-shirt, £30.00
The t-shirt is a play on the wax cotton fabric with the brand name subtly hidden amongst the pattern. From every t-shirt and sweatshirt sold that uses the Kenema print, 25% of profits will be donated to the Innovate Salone textiles project in Kenema where young people are given the resources that enable them to produce dye for batik and tie dye design, all from local natural resources.

Kenema was launched in 2010 by Tamu, a former social worker focusing on troubled families, children and young people. “It went from receiving a dress from Sierra Leone as a present to discussions about importing them, to me sitting down and thinking there must be a way to use these fabrics in everyday garments that will appeal to a global audience, to me actually designing and producing an entire collection,” she explains.

Other recent African-inspired collections from heavyweights like Ozwald Boateng and Vivienne Westwood have seen the continent emerge as a serious player in the fashion world, with prints jumping from the catwalk to mainstream pop consciousness via stylish ambassadors including Solange Knowles and Michelle Obama.

Tamu is passionate about supporting local businesses in Sierra Leone and across Africa, directly impacting them and empowering communities. The label works with entrepreneurs and artisans to provide products, goods and services in exchange for fair pay. The country cloth is made from locally grown cotton, hand carded and spun into thread, and woven into strips on traditional looms. The strips are then sewn together edge to edge to form the finished cloth.

“We want to open pathways so the ethical background of the label is discovered,” says Tamu, mindful that awareness of these global issues is key, but savvy enough to understand people don’t want to be force fed moral viewpoints.

Kenema takes its name from the third largest city in Sierra Leone, just one of many ravaged by the civil war which raged from 1991 until 2002. “The citizens of Kenema carry themselves with such courage and resilience,” says Tamu. “I want my brand to represent that beauty, strength and tenacity in all of the people.”

Floating Puzzle Cars | Chris Labrooy

Auto Aerobics sounds slightly better than Floating Puzzle Cars right? Well thats the title of UK based Chris Labrooy’s digital car sculptures. His project feature a host of cars interlinked and manipulated to create a mind puzzle. He gained his inspiration from wintry walks in Brooklyn i believe.

Playful and mesmerising – you still think they are real dont you..

Dre’s Beats Brings Us Wireless

Dre’s Beats have been a sensation since their release in 2008. Recently, I was walking around the airport in Zurich, Switzerland and saw a gentleman around the age of 65 catching up on ’60 Minutes’ with a pair of Studio Beats. I wondered if he actually knew who Dr. Dre was. But that is beside the point.

Beats have released their Studio Wireless edition that connects through Bluetooth technology and allows for a range up to 30 feet from your device. Even better, the headphones are rechargeable so no more buzz kills when it comes to dead batteries. The headphones come with a volume control and a gauge that shows how much battery is left so you know how much time you have before you have to actually listen to the person next you on the plane.

No doubt you are going to pay a bold price for these ($380) but then again, life is too short.

Live a little and noise cancel the world.

Mac Daddy – Stutterheim Raincoats

Hailing from Stockholm come Stutterheim in all their raining glory. A family affair which Alexander recounts the story of his Granddad the poet and stage manager who coupled this with a second life – that of a sea fisherman, defying the worst weather, the heaviest rains and the loudest of thunderstorms.

So it is no surprise that when Alexander discovered his old raincoat in an abandoned barn and the nostalgia set in – instantly wanting to wear his rain coat which was both stunningly cool and practical (big as a tent, Alex admits) he set about creating an updated and contemporary version based on his imagination whilst paying homage to his granddad and the quest for life.

As the saying goes – every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain and in this case it might be your bank manager. At nearly £200 for the most basic raincoat it’s a little dear, however the knowledge of the story, the Scandinavian manufacturing and that Stutterheim will be for sure a love affair with nature for years to come, you can tell your bank manager who the real Mac Daddy is.