We are proud to introduce the collections of the famed House of Agano in Kenya by designer Patricia Lulu Mbela. Lulu Mbela ranks as one of Africa's top fashion and jewelry designers. Reviewers were taken by Mbela's professionalism, her particular treatment of contemporary styles, and her use of regional palette, patterns and motifs in creating memorable designs. The fashion show will feature a collection of 60 dresses and jewelry.
“I really enjoyed the show. The clothes were beautiful, classy and made me wish I were small enough to wear them. I wish much success to the designer and I look forward to seeing her look again.”
Outfit 1- Excellent, Good accessories
Outfit 2- Excellent finish at the back
Outfit 3- Nice bouncy model feel
Outfit 4- Men’s shirt (very smart)
Outfit 5- Beautiful top, nice belt
Outfit 6- Red/ Fuchsia pink long dress, excellent finish and attention to detail
Outfit 7- Nice simple outfit for a young man
Outfit 8- Gold and fuchsia pink summer dress with a lace finish, very beautiful
Outfit 9- Brown mini and halter neck, well put together
Outfit 10- Motif men’s shirt with khaki pants, unique with tortoise shell finish
Outfit 11- Bark cloth top, excellent idea
Outfit 12- White tawny dress, well finished
Outfit 13- Men shirt, white shorts and akalas are very nice
Outfit 14- Black leggings and t-shirt top nice for summer
Outfit 15- Bark cloth collar outfit
Outfit 16- Beige/Khaki slacks and top very nice and simple
Outfit 17- Gold/Black stripped shirt, very smart/ casual
Outfit 18- Organza top white dress
Outfit 19- Long black skirt/ pants with slit, very risqué
Outfit 20- Bark and tie-dye dress, breathtaking
Outfit 21- Red long dress with chunky beaded necklace, lovely
Outfit 22- Red and green organza and bark, ravishing
Outfit 23- Black shirt with motif on the sleeve
Outfit 24- Black linen shirt with motif, very smart/casual
Outfit 25- white cutoffs and bark jacket, very elegant
Outfit 26- kitenge halter with black pants, excellent for summer
"Models and choreography nice and simple but effective." "Excellent accessories."
“The clothing of plain fabrics with minimal embellishments was very elegant. The jewelry was magnificent. I especially liked the jeweled backs of the dresses.”
“It was a great pleasure attending the first African Fashion Show. You took me back home that way- way to go!”
“All of the clothes were amazing. I especially loved the white dress with the mesh on the bottom half and the white pants (ladies) with the cuffs and zipped up in the back. Awesome!”
When: Saturday, January 17, 2009
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Cost: $20/person by January 16, $25/person at the door.
Fashion show makeup: Aria on the Avenue (with Aveda cosmetics)
Or call Africa House at 607-821-2540 to pay for your seat. All ticket sales are final and non-refundable.
Patrcia Lulu Mbela (House of Agano, Kenya)
Africa's Top Fashion Designer
To build Agano into an international clothing line which gives opportunities to young upcoming designers.
This has evolved over the years and currently I have returned to the roots. I now use the fabric and the garments as a canvas through hand painting, printing, dyeing, marbling, beading as well as focusing on interesting garment construction.
- HND in FASHION DESIGN, Kent Institute of Art and Design, now University College for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus, England. 1994-1996
- BTEC in FASHION DESIGN, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, South Hampton Row Campus, England, 1993-1994
- IGCSE, Rusinga School, Nairobi-Kenya. 1991-1992
- Fashion Designer, Design Director, Agano Design Studio. January 2004- to date. (2004 Native Essence was dissolved. Investors and I started the label AGANO).
- One of nine Kenyan designers (out of 1,500 entries) chosen to design The Kenyan National Dress. (Visit www.sunlight.co.ke) June-August 2004.
- Fashion Designer, Owner, Native Essence Designs 2002-2004
- Cooperate uniform designer, Crownrock Shield Uniforms, Nairobi-Kenya 2001
- Kenyan fashion and textile designer for Kenya Airways Millennium uniform. 1999-2001
- Freelance Fashion Designer 1997-1998
- Fashion Illustration Lecturer, Evelyn College of Design, Nairobi- Kenya. June 1996- December 1996.
- Finalist in Smirnoff International Fashion Awards Professional Category (three consecutive years 1998 – 2000)
- Kenyan designer chosen, from a competitive international tendering process, for the Kenya Airways Millennium uniform
- One of two Kenyan designers chosen to provide clothes for Nokia Face of Africa photo shoot in 2005
- Since 1996 – 2003 dressed all the Kenyan entrants to Miss World, Miss Malaika.
- Dressed personalities in the country including politicians, musicians and media personalities.
Photographs of Designs from House of Agano, Kenya
Photographer Abraham Ali
Kenya's Agano Fashion House Launches Stunning African Jewellery
By Katy Salmon, Misanet/IPS
I hope they are going to bring international buyers because Kenyan fashion has to be taken abroad, says Patricia Mbela, who has been working as a designer since she returned from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College in 1996.
Mbela believes it is crucial for young designers, like herself, to get more exposure. “The problem is many designers in Kenya don’t have the money to open stores. So a lot of the garments are in people’s houses. I work from home so not many people get to see them,” she says.
Mbela relies on word of mouth and charity fashion shows to get her name known. She spends much of her time designing uniforms for companies like Kenya Airways and Kodak. “I have to do that. I’ve got to eat. I can’t just live on catwalk-style pieces,” she says.
One universally acknowledged problem with Kenyan fashion is its lack of a distinct style. “The only thing that I can say is truly Kenyan is the leso or kanga (a piece of cloth - usually colourful - wrapped around the body). Everybody has one from the richest to the poorest,” says Mbela.
Kenya’s made up of very many ethnic group, she explains. “To incorporate all these cultures and traditions into a garment that everybody is comfortable wearing is going to take some time and some understanding. The most well-known group in Kenya is the Maasai. But if you’re Kikuyu or Taita or Luo, you have a bit of a problem with that.”
Many Kenyan designers argue that people lack pride in their own Kenyan identity. “I think the colonialists did a really good job on us. We would rather be in jeans than put on say a leso,” says Mbela.
A strange quirk is that the average Kenyan prefers to dress in western clothes. “It’s hard to pin down what is Kenyan attire without offending one of the 49 ethnic groups in this country,” said Patricia Mbela, who designed the flight attendants’ uniforms for Kenya Airways, imprinted with tiny zebras, cheetahs and giraffes. Mbela, one of the design team, believes there is another reason for the lack of enthusiasm. She says that “that the British did such a good job on us that we’ve forgotten our culture and heritage”.
Patricia Mbela, one of the nine-strong design team, said: “It’s been 40 years [since independence] waiting for our national garment, but now it’s finally here, people are still hanging on to a conservative way of dressing. The British did such a good job on us that we’ve forgotten our culture and heritage.”
Patricia herself is a fine artist who studied her art in London. So in case you have been wondering what accessories go with your authentic Kenyan design, they would be it.
Essence of Africa
Africa House Fashion Show with Aria on the Avenue
January 17, 2009, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Article Source: Misanet/IPS.
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