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 and a Tiki man, among other things. He hung a National Geographic atlas above them, where he pointed out the countries he’d traveled to.
I began my own journey mapping out stories and spots on the globe at the age of 18. The wearable pieces I purchased 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 the stories of these places with me in my daily life.
The name, “Nakate,” comes from a nine year old girl I met in a Ugandan village called Kakooge. After losing her father and mother to AIDS, Cossy Nakate was moved to live with her aunt – a local prostitute.
My connection to Cossy developed quickly. And it was the desire to connect her with role models within her own society that created Nakate’s business model of connecting African talent to women in remote villages to nourish artistic growth and development. We have seen that women are anxious to leave harmful occupations for better ways of living, if they can only be provided with the resources and inspiration to take back their stories.
Nakate was launched just after my 21st birthday. Created in collaboration with celebrity stylist Antonio Esteban and individual artisans in Uganda, I envisioned the stories behind these pieces reminding their wearers to express the adventurous, bold woman that lives in each of them.
Where will you take Africa? We’d like to send a piece with you.