We’re super excited to welcome onboard our first Co-Design Fellow, Christine Masese! Christine will be joining the team on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya, where we work with the local designers and artisans. She will be instrumental in our capacity building and custom design programs, as we work with artisans in areas including scaling of production, technical advisory, and design innovation.
Introduce yourself to our Soko followers!
I’m Christine Masese, a product design graduate and currently a fashion and accessories designer at Tropical Muse Designs.
Tell us about your background in design and working wtih artisans.
I got to work with artisans as part of a product design project with an Italian NGO- Terra Nuova East Africa while in university. I was assigned jewellery designers from the Maasai community based in Ongata Rongai. Their hands on experience together with my technical and theoretical approach helped us come up with some brilliant products. To date, the artisans are running successful businesses. This is certainly something I want to do.
What attracted you to Soko’s Co-Design Fellowship?
Until a couple of years ago, there have not been many product design opportunities available in the country (Kenya). Product designers were referred to as “Jua Kali” and not a real job. Luckily, and very exciting, the design industry has grown so much in this period.
After seeing a Soko documentary featured on Citizen TV Prime Time News, I checked out the website and found a section calling for interested Design Fellows….it’s like they had me in mind!
What is your favorite piece from the Kenya Collection?
The Kona ring ….such a catchy name too!
What you hope to gain from your Soko fellowship?
The fellowship is definitely going to be a rewarding experience. I am looking forward to learning, sharing my experience and expertise, making valuable contacts, and positively impacting both the lives of artisans and the enterprise!
And she’s got style…
When she’s not working with artisans, Christine is modeling stunning designs herself! This week you can catch her on the runway at Swahili Fashion Week, where she’s been working the catwalk for the past three years.