The past two months have been pretty much silent from my side, they say health is wealth, and when your health takes a turn on you that can be one of life’s biggest challenge. In times likes these, your mind drifts away to the beautiful places that bring colour in to your life – like the sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters of Diani Beach. A place I call paradise on earth, but for others its a place where they’ve made their dreams come true.
From the cosmopolitan city of Madrid, Algerian born Safia Bengalia fell in love with the Kenyan coastal region in 2012 when she visited Kenya for the first time on a volunteering trip. A few months later, she was back in Kenya to call the country her new home.
Settling in Diani, Safia was fascinated by the way the women in the coast rocked their kangas and the precision and talent of Masai beadwork. With a passion for fashion, Bengalia wanted to share the beauty of the country with the world and so she embarked on creating her fashion brand – Nawe Kenya, creating handbags and accessories that can be worn by women from around the world.
Nawe Kenya works with local skilled artisans in Malindi, Mombasa and Ukunda to create unique accessories not just inspired by the Masai and coastal culture but also made by hand preserving the traditions and skills of the Kenyan craftsmen. The artisans consist of a small workforce who benefit from working with the brand by getting regular orders that allow them to make a more sustainable income where they are paid a fair price for the product. Nawe also offers the producers soft loans to buy machinery and other supplies that can assist them on growing their production capacity. Their goal is to empower small workshops along the coast creating much needed job opportunities and giving the individuals hope through the dignity of work, a fair wage and the freedom of being self sufficient and building a better future for themselves and their families.
All the designs are African inspired, their handbags are made of genuine leather locally sourced and African fabrics (shuka, kanga, kitenge) or Masai beadwork and recycled components like the belt buckles and the D rings on some of the handbags.
Nawe Kenya’s first collection is a spring collection that includes handbags, belts and jewellery. In May 2016, they will be launching the summer collection adding Masai sandals, kikoys and kanga towels.
Just a couple of months away and Nawe Kenya will be launching their official boutique in July 2016 right in the midst of Diani Beach. For now, you can shop for all the beautiful handbags and accessories by visiting nawekenya.etsy.com and the BEST part about it all is that Discovering Kenya readers get a 30% discount till 29th March by entering coupon “DiscoveringKenya30” while checking out. Buy a beautiful Nawe piece and help make a difference to the lives of Kenyan artisans. Happy Shopping!
You can follow Nawe Kenya on Instagram for updates on their latest collections – @nawekenya.
I can’t wait to ROCK my Nawe clutch.