Loza Maléombho is a women’s ready to wear clothing line based in New York with women empowerment, social and economic trades in West Africa. Set up by Brazilian born Loza Maléombho, who is of Ivorian and Central African origins, in 2009. Loza was raised in Abidjan, Côte-d’Ivoire (West Africa) and in 2000 she moved to the United States, went on to graduate from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia in 2006, then moved to New York city for greater fashion experience. Her eponymous label offers sustainable, socially conscious designs for the modern woman and has a mission towards:
• FASHION • FAIR TRADE • MADE IN AFRICA
The SS 2012 collection was inspired by trips to India, Paris, Jamaica, Ghana and Ivory Coast and by the medieval and colonial times. Here she explores a new smart and fashionable way to use Kente Cloth which is 100% sustainable and hand woven in Ghana, with their professional craftsmanship on tailored jackets. She interestingly also has had fun mixing patterns and textures together with Indian batiks and linen. We at Africa Fashion Guide are excited about this new direction for the brand as we have followed it since early 2010. We have always noticed Loza’s passion for ethics and Africa and see this developing into something quite special in this Spring Summer collection seen below.
The other area of interest is Loza’s direction to use Kente another form of handwoven fabric in Africa. Weaving takes place in a variety of countries in Africa not only in Ghana. The art of weaving can be compared to a mothers’ love that has been passed down from generation to generation and harnesses such skill and technique. Weaving is the systematic interlacing of two elements which, when stringed through a special machine called a ‘Loom’, forms a coherent structure eventually creating the desired cloth or fabric.
The early beginnings of weaving are still not quite sure of, but history dates it as far back as 7000 to 8000 BC the era of the Mesopotamia people. Seen as a form of survival or even a technique inspired by the observation of spider webs and birds nests, in the beginning, weaving stood as an everyday need of our prehistoric ancestors providing shelter, clothing and assistance on their quest for basic needs of food. Along with basic needs of survival, our ancestors also thought to embellish their arts of work once they had mastered the art of weaving.
The idea of weaving spans across the border and no technique is too complicated for many countries of Africa. Ghana’s traditional Kente cloth is also hand woven cloth usually containing bright primary colours and has stood as a significant symbol of Ghana’s ritual culture for centuries. Kente is worn all over the world and is exported to more places around the world than any other African fabric. As well as the bright colours and intricate pattern work, Kente cloth speaks a thousands words and each pattern represents something different.
What Loza brings is Kente in a modern, contemporary form and her label joins the ranks of labels such as Lemlem, Kemkem studio, Madam Wokies Couture, Buki Akib to name a few who are utilising hand-woven fabric in a fresh way. Loza is the type of woman who was not afraid to believe in herself and what she was doing and to pack up her things and move to Africa. Before she launched the label this is what she did. She packed her sketches, patterns and belongings and spent two months in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) and stayed there working with tailors and seamstresses to make the first collection which used Nigerian tie dye, batik and beading finished with feminine ruffles.
Loza Maléombho’s purpose stands on promoting education in developing countries of West Africa and to be actively involved in the manufacturing and textile sectors there which will create jobs. From the first collection she worked in partnership with African workshops and textile companies on her production and promotes the concept of a “© Made in Africa” label or Made in Ghana, Made in Kenya…label etc, a concept that we highly support.
This SS12 is beautifully executed, extremely romantic and highly fashioned. We adore this Loza and are looking forward to seeing more from this label into 2012. So we encourage you to check out the link below for more information: