Sierra Leonean designer, Kadiatu Kamara, of Vivid Emporium just released her Summer 2017 Collection Lookbook titled Ancient Eyes and it is amazing!!! The designs were produced in Sierra Leone and feature maxi dresses, jumpsuits, tailored trousers and cropped tops. Cowrie shells from across Africa; a signature of Vivid Emporium designs, were incorporated into most of the pieces.
Speaking about her most recent designs Kadiatu Kamara notes “Cowrie shells or as we know them in Sierra Leone, Jege, was a valuable ancient African commodity that was used to buy or exchange for other valuables such as land, houses or a good wife. Cowrie shells were also used in ancient times as a way for wiser men and women to predict the future. I’ve loved cowrie shells since I could remember knowing them. They always just look so shiny and beautiful, like the possessed something powerful. I went on a trip to East Africa and I did a lot of snuggling. The water was so blue and so clear that I could see pretty far to the bottom, and I would see these beautiful shells laying in the water. I grew fascinated and cautiously started picking them. It soon became pretty much all I did on that trip. I would get beach boys and girls on the coast to help me collect them. A whole suitcase of shells and $300 excess baggage later, I brought home my precious cowrie shells. For over 6 years I had no idea what to do with them. I continued to collect the shells on the beaches of Sierra Leone and I started getting even more shiny ones from Mali. Piling up all my shells made me happy. I felt a certain kind of strength and clarity every time I felt them. I kept my precious shells safe and would look at them, play with them once in a while, until I had to make a vintage inspired dress for an occasion. I decided to work with the shells. And that was it. I wouldn’t run out of ideas. I was a kid in a candy store with shells. I produced an entire collection without even knowing where exactly I was going with it“.
You can soon shop the looks at www.vividemporium.com.
Models: Marion Conteh, Abie Koromah, Ama models
Creative directors: Violet Asgill & Kadiatu Kamara
Photo-shoot sponsored by Nicola Asgill of Evoque Magazine
Photographer: Laura Cook