The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art will host some of Africa’s hottest designers at “Earth Matters, Fashion Matters” a fashion show and concert at the museum Saturday, Feb. 22, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Katie Rost, a Vogue 100 model, will emcee the sold-out event.
Global Fashion New York Inc. is producing the provocative show, which will feature eco-friendly fashions inspired by the exhibition, “Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa.” DJ Adrian Loving will set the tempo for the evening with a playlist influenced by “Earth Matters.”
Ten of Africa’s most innovative fashion designers will respond and interpret with eco-friendly fashions inspired by the “Earth Matters” exhibition: Thula Sindi from South Africa, Taibo Bacar from Mozambique, KibonenNY from Cameroon, Chouchou Lazare from Gabon, MaXhosa by Laduma fromSouth Africa, Patience Torlowei from Nigeria, Mushana from Uganda,Kenema from Sierra Leone, Abai Schulze from Ethiopia and Sindiso Khumalo from South Africa. The exhibition is on view at the museum through Sunday, Feb 23
Kibonen?NY is the brain child of the most revolutionary Cameroonian designer KibonenNfi. Inspired by traditional Cameroonian garments, West African fabric and New York’s vibrant fashion scene, Kibonen delved into the fashion scene with the never before seen ingenious idea of contemporizing one of the most delicate and intricate hand woven traditional garments of Cameroon western highlands region, The Toghu .Today the African International Awards Nominated “Emerging designer of the Year 2013” is a Fashion Design student at the Art Institute of NYC, a decision she made in order to help transform her natural talent to a money making establishment. A serious career in Fashion is unfathomable in Cameroon, but this ideology is gradually changing thanks to pioneers like Kibonen, who takes it upon herself to cultivate and mature this untapped industry.
KibonenNY – The Company
KibonenNY (KNY) is a fresh fusion of this rich culture with contemporary styles, fabrics and trends. KibonenNY aims to capture an international clientele through its trendy designs, with very sensual silhouettes. The KNY client is one who is confident, colorful and free spirited. KNY is for the classy trend setter with a strong sense of style and a refined taste for contemporary and authentic Africana clothing.
KibonenNY explores traditional African fabrics – Wax prints, Tye-dye, Kanga, Mud Cloth, Toghu and Nduop
KibonenNY designs Clothing for men women and kids, Accessories – Bags, Ring, Bangles and Footwear, Home Goods, Corporate Gift items all inspired by Africa
Besides being a fashion lifestyle brand, KibonenNY is an ethical fashion brand. Cameroon is a country with abundant talent, unbelievable design aesthetics, amazing and beautiful people yet over 49% of the population live below the poverty line. This was another gripping factor that urged the formation of my brand, using the business of fashion to help create employment in Cameroon, paying employees a fair wage that will not only aid survival but allow them to improve their standard of living.
KibonenNY has successfully showcased her talent as well as Cameroons culture and aesthetics at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa – Tswane, South Africa, November 2013
– Africa Fashion Week NY – New York, USA July 2012
– Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa Johannesburg South Africa– October 2012
– Nigeria’s Next Super Model Fashion show – Lagos Nigeria – November 2012
– American Chamber of Commerce Fashion show – Douala, Cameroon – January 2012
On realizing the potential that ethical fashion could provide, KibonenNY together with some partners formed the Cameroon Fashion Association of America and instigated the startup of an ethical factory, “Made In Camer” Clothing and Accessories Fair Trade Manufacturing in Bamenda, Cameroon.
KibonenNY- Earth Matters Collection – The Bamboo Jersey Collection
“When invited to the exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Metaphor and Material in the Arts of Africa, the first thing that came to my mind was eco fashion and how through fashion we can help save our environment.“Bamboo Fabric” – jersey like fabric made from Bamboo came to mind. Bamboo is a highly sustainable crop as it does not claim farming land,grows very fast and needs very minimal care. It is a much better CO2 extractor and oxygen emitter than trees, and all bamboo products are completely biodegradable and recyclable. The raw material bamboo is certified organic.
After going through the actual art exhibition that took place at the museum, the work of Osodispoke directly to me as I reflected on the theme. I hence picked out the painting which I had printed on silk jersey and found a way to incorporate it into the designs.
I clearly went a little out of my habit by designing very sensual garments all with the aim of bringing out the fact that we can be ecofriendly at the same time comfortable, sensually sexy and classy.”
Support for “Earth Matter Fashion Matters” comes from Ecco Bella (makeup and gift bags), T?H?E Artist Agency (models) and Wholefoods. Thanks go to the students of the Fashion Club at Fashion Design and Merchandising at Marymount University, The Art Institute of Washington School of Design and Aveda Institute in Washington, D.C.
About the Exhibition
“Earth Matters” is the first major exhibition exploring the ways in which African artists and communities mediate their relationship with the land upon which they live, work and frame their days. The exhibition investigates the intersection between art and knowledge and brings together approximately 100 exceptional works of art from the turn of the 19th to 21st centuries. It is divided into five thematic sections: The Material Earth, Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface and Art as Environmental Action. A sixth section, Earth Works, is the first installation of land art by three artists to be assembled outside in the Smithsonian Gardens and on the National Mall.
The National Museum of African Art is America’s only museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about this exhibition, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website at Africa.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.