Sydney-Davies and Big Dread Kente have worked together to create a natural raffia-fringed hand-woven kente cloth midi skirt with recyclable plastic blocking, and a bralet top embellished with Swarovski upcycled crystals in queen bee motifs. The outfit is completed with an oversized bardot wrap jacket made from hand-woven gold kente cloth, hand-woven country cloth, and 100% wool, and a handmade necklace and bracelet crafted by Ousman Toure in The Gambia. The necklace is made using glass beads and wooden Malawian trade beads which were traditionally used as tender. Sydney-Davies “came across Big Dread Kente on Instagram and immediately fell in love with kente cloth and its rich history.”
Mad pattern and dazzling colours run through the veins of Eumphemia-Ann Sydney-Davies, the Sierra Leone designer currently piquing the attention of the international fashion world. Sydney-Davies was a child refugee during the brutal civil war, and now works tirelessly to be a positive representation of her country by creating edgy looks that are also ethical and sustainable. For the past two years she has been producing some of her pieces in Sierra Leone, supporting local creatives and artisans. She is currently working on her new collection to debut at London Fashion Week 2018.
Sydney-Davies says, “Sierra Leone is a place largely avoided by the fashion industry although skills and needs are plentiful. I wanted to create a fashion brand that would not only change my life but also the lives of many, by providing education and jobs for local people. This is my dream. I hope I inspire others to follow suit. I hope I will give them confidence, by seeing that it is possible to produce high quality fashion that’s both affordable and ethical.
Big Dread Kente
The Ewe people from southern Ghana have been wearing kente, a vibrantly striped woven, fabric for centuries. Originally only worn by royalty, with special meaning woven through the horizontal and vertical patterns, today kente is worn by all, often on special occasions like weddings. Big Dread Kente is a kente weaving company in Ghana, founded in 2015 and run by husband and wife team, Gideon and Julia. The workshop aims to train young boys and girls to learn the beautiful and ancient craft of kente weaving.
OUSMAN TOURE, CONTINENT CLOTHING
Continent Clothing designs are made in The Gambia with fabrics sourced from merchants across West Africa. Their aim is to provide full time and sustainable employment to as many people as possible, so they work on a micro scale and work directly with local Gambian tailors, seamstresses and fabric merchants in West Africa. Ousman Toure designed this jewellery in collaboration with Continent Clothing. Osman comes from a long line of jewellers, and lives and works in Sukuta, The Gambia. His work is often influenced by the Maasai Tribe.