As you may know, our designs are inspired by and named after tribes and communities in Kenya, and 5% of all sales go back into these communities. These inspirations come from a variety of special tribal traditions. In this case, we would like to share with you the inspiration behind our 'Gusii' (Pink) collection.
You may remember that back in April 2018, co-founder of KOY Clothing ‘Alastair Scott’ travelled from his family home in Nairobi to 'Kisii Land', which is where the Gusii tribe originates. Here he met with an artist named ‘Elkana Ongesa’, who is on a mission to preserve a beautiful cultural heritage of the Gusii people – ‘Kisii Soapstone Carving’. Kisii Soapstone has a stunning natural pink colour shade, and can only be found in Kisii, Kenya. This is the inspiration for the pink colour palate of our 'Gusii' collection.
Soapstone carving has been an old tradition in Kisii for centuries, but unfortunately, much like many historic traditions, it is being lost. Well, we are here to help Elkana on his mission, and provide tools and training for young children in the community to carve the Kisii soapstone, so they can grow up to sell their own carvings, make a living in the future, and in turn preserve this beautiful heritage of the Gusii community. This project will also help to improve Elkana’s museum, bring more tourism to the Kisii County, and eventually build Elkana his dream museum.
In October, Alastair’s brother, also co-founder of KOY, ‘Jimmy Scott’, went to visit Elkana in Kisii Land to handover a confirmation letter of our 2nd official funding towards Elkana’s mission. Here is a video of Jimmy’s trip:
(Video by Lorian Dufresne - Instagram: @Lorian_dufresne)
We have now officially handed over our 2018 funding towards ‘Elkana’s’ mission. This is only the beginning of what we hope will be a long and positive partnership with Elkana and the Gusii community of Kenya. We will be back in 2019 with some more funding and more updates on this story, so keep a look out!
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