Nakate – a Journey That Began with My Father
July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments
When I was a little girl, my father fascinated me with the stories surrounding items he had from other countries. In his office, there was a hand carved tiger, a Japanese garden stool, a bottle collection, a Tiki man, and above them all, a National Geographic atlas where he used to show me the countries where he had purchased the things I loved to touch and ask about. “Here is Okinawa,” he’d say. “There’s Germany.” Sometimes we talked about Hawaii. Other days we talked about Mexico and Brazil.
As I grew older, my fascination with stories from overseas grew, and my grandfather and father honored my interest with gifts – a bottle here, a set of Japanese farming shoes there. They helped me begin a collection of global pieces that were connected to the stories of my father’s family, and their travels from before I was born. What I loved most about these pieces was the way they reminded me that the world is bigger than my direct experience with it, and I can live in the light of that reality, no matter where I am.
At 18, I began my own journey mapping out stories and spots on the globe – beginning with Haiti, and continuing into Uganda a year later. After spending time in these areas, the items I’d purchased, particularly the wearable ones, were imbued with memories and stories from their particular locations. By integrating these items into my wardrobe, I felt that I was able to take these places with me in my daily life. My bracelets opened dialogue about global events, stories and experiences. My flip flops created conversations around East Africa. There it was again – that big world. This time, influencing my relationships, and challenging my friends to take its reality with them as well.
At 21, I combined my love of travel and stories into a fashion line. Created in collaboration with celebrity stylist Antonio Esteban and individual artisans in Uganda, our pieces serve as a way for women to open dialogue around global events, stories and experiences – their own, other people’s, or those of the women we partner with at Nakate. My vision was always that these pieces would serve as a reminder that, no matter where you are, the world is much bigger than your direct experience with it – and it is possible to take that reality with you, wherever you go.