I am finally getting around to sharing with you pieces from the womenswear collection I did earlier this year for a campaign we were initiating in Mali, called "Coton du Mali", a collaboration between designers, hand weavers and dyers in partnership with the Ministry of Handicrafts and Tourism and the Centre Cultural Francais in Bamako. Inspired by the vivid colors and traditional skilled craftspeople of Mali, Munnie and I initiated a campaign to promote Malian fair trade cotton and artisans. The goal of our initiative was to inspire and promote slow fashion that creates jobs and sustains tradition by making local textiles sexy through good design. My collection used bogolan (mud cloth) and handwoven fabrics including some organic cotton, and also incorporated indigo dyed fabric for timeless traditional-modern designs. I had used handmade fabrics in my own home and my kids design, but this was my first time using them in my womenswear collection.
Unfortunately a week before our fashion show and the launch of our campaign, the coup happened, its still very surreal to think that earlier this year junior military officers staged a coup d'etat that reversed the peace and relative democracy of Mali plunging the country into chaos. So sad, because in my more than two years in Mali, I never felt unsafe, and really enjoyed exploring and appreciating the craftsmanship of that country. I do remain hopeful that peace will be restored to that country.