Hamaji—the brainchild of Louise Sommerlatte—means nomad in Swahili: a word that embodies the spirit of her brand. As Kenyans who have always lived closely to the natural world, we can see nature’s fingerprint on both her designs and the textiles she chooses. We are excited to be part of her platform when she launches her collection on Thursday the 28th of January at 4 pm East African Time. We believe that HAMAJI will be a huge success and look forward to this collection and her brand becoming part of the world stage.
To get to know the creator and proud owner of HAMAJI we asked Louise Neoma Sommerlatte to tell us more about herself. Her story is both unique and intriguing. We are excited to share her story with you.
Louise was born and raised in the East African bush and spent an adventurous childhood living in various parts of Kenya with her parents: her father is a wildlife conservationist, and her mother is a botanist. This involved constant moving around in nature. Hence being in nature was simply a fundamental part of her upbringing. Design became a passion. We can see how Louise has fused her love of the natural world and her passion for design. Louise graduated from Fedisa and then set her sights on travelling. She has since seen much of the world, absorbing influences from each new place. However, Africa has always had the strongest pull and is where her heart lies. After a few years of experiencing life abroad, she has come home! Louise aims to weave the spirit of Africa into each piece she designs.
Every HAMAJI design begins with the sourcing of the textile. The charm of African textiles lies in natural raw fibres, hand woven pieces and other organic materials. For this collection, she collaborated with @nuno.nairobi, natural dying designers who use vegetable dyes on Dhow sail materials. HAMAJI is created around the preservation of ancient textile traditions and nomadic craftsmanship. One cannot help but notice the intense buzz of African life in the textiles and design choices. Each HAMAJI treasure is unique and inspired by creating an ethical African narrative.
All eyes are on Africa. We are seeing an explosion of designers in the fashion industry in our beloved continent. Louise sees African design as the future and hopes to build HAMAJI into a beacon of sustainable African design. She would like to co-create with local artisans and bring Africa’s aesthetics to the rest of the world. And to conclude in her own words: “I want to pave the way for more ethical fashion practices, slow made fashion, up-cycling, sustainable design and a circular economy.”
We look forward to watching the Hamaji brand grow and will be following this journey closely.