“Nyamijyosi is one of Kigali’s most vibrant and interesting neighbourhoods. It’s a big place with the main part bordering the city and ‘deep’ Nyamijyosi (also referred to as Gangster’s Paradise) stretching all the way up the hills into the distance. Unlike the rest of the city, which seems to shut down at 8pm, it hustles and bustles late into the night.”
This is how Inés Cuatrecasas, one of the designers behind millecollines, describes Nyamijyosi, the colourful neighbourhood that inspired their spring/summer 2015 collection. “Our inspiration comes from its main street that is packed with small, quirky shops full of colour and music. The people there are extremely creative entrepreneurs and know their way around. They are also known for being the most fashion-forward in the city. There is a big sense of belonging and pride.”
This spirited sense of Africa was evident yesterday evening when Cuatrecasas and her business partner, Marc Oliver, introduced South Africa to their spring/summer 2015 designs at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (MBFWA) in Johannesburg, which included a sneak peak at their debut menswear collection.
The show focused on their first street line, which the duo describes as bold, fresh and alive, and the shapes as simple and relaxed. “As we move to formal and eveningwear, the focus moves to texture and shapes that echo the buzz on the streets,” explains Cuatrecasas. The textures too are taken from the streets where coarse concrete walls and dirt roads contrast with smooth metal doors and plastic and glass. The fabrics therefore are an eclectic mix of leather, micro twills, scuba, chiffon and crêpe.
The fun and bold necklaces, bracelets and handbags seen at the show are from the millecollines range of accessories and were specially designed as an extension of Nyamijyosi and crafted from similarly unexpected materials.
In an exciting move, millecollines had collaborated with Johannesburg milliners Simon and Mary, and Sk8 Shades, Dave de Witt’s attention- grabbing sunglasses handmade from recycled skateboards, for MBFWA. Millecollines collaborated with Maria McCloy Accessories that supplied African sandals known as Izimbadada to complement their menswear collection for this season. Millecollines also collaborated with Rage pairing shoes from their SS14 collection titled ‘The Heatwave’ to compliment the millecollines womenswear.
Since the two designers arrived in Kigali from Barcelona in 2005 – “We were 23 years old and all we had was optimism, hope and energy to follow a dream” – millecollines, established in 2009, has grown and now collaborates with 270 local artisans working with raffia, tin, horn, embroidery, crystal and aluminium. Their goal is to establish an African fashion brand that produces fashion that is distinctly African to international standards.
This global viewpoint defines who they design for: “A woman who is not afraid of a world that is changing, who believes that we achieve a new and richer expression of wealth through our diversity. She values a unique, handmade, and high quality product. Africa lives in her.”
The spring/summer 2015 collection, Nyamijyosi will be available at millecollines’ online shop toward the end of this year and a South African store is in the pipeline. Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for orders.
See complete collection HERE
From The Desk of: Jenna McArthur PR | Jenna McArthur | firstname.lastname@example.org