One of my fav things to do as a fashion editor is to meet with fashion designers and the creative teams behind the specific brands. To be able to sit down and get the back story of why and who a garment is made gives for a better understanding of the brand and how it relates to people. One of my favorite designer meet ups was with Chief Kikanae Ole Pere or William as he is know in the west of the Maasai Tribe. Chief Willam is championed with creating a way for the women of Kenya to make a sustainable living by partnering with Spanish brand Pikolinos that features the work by the Maasai women on handbags, jewelry and shoes. I thought on this MLK Day it was only right to highlight Chief William and the women of the Maasai tribe on their vision of empowerment and their determination to surpass their life threatening hardships in Kenya.
Under the Maasai Project leather pieces are cute into shapes in the Pikolinos atelier in Spain and sent to the Maasai Mara where they are distributed to hundreds of women of the tribe. The women then create and customize each piece with beautiful beads and shells in bright colors that reflect their rich heritage. To complete the process the pieces are returned back to Spain where they then add them to sandals , handbags etc. The completed pieces of work are then distributed across the globe and the women of the Maasai get the profits from their works.
During the event , we were able to have one on one conversations with Chief William and one thing that stood out to me and still resonates with me till this day is Chief William said that ” we are all brothers and sisters and it is our responsibly to find that common ground so that we can preserve the earth for future generations to come “.
I truly believe with all that is going on in the world that on this MLK day we can take a page from Chief William and the Maasai Tribes book on being our brothers and sisters keepers. Fashion never disappoints me with its way of bridging gaps be it economic, health and inclusion. Support the Maasai Project by Pikolinos as it helps to provide a living for so many deserving women in Kenya and Tanzania .
XoXo Keicia Shanta
Images : Rob FashionCrush