Just an hour’s drive from our modern offices in central Nairobi lies the serene mountainside village of Kiserian, home to a vibrant community of Maasai.
Though we can’t give you any details (yet!), Soko has an exciting design partnership in the works with a Toronto fashion designer, including new pieces featuring the vivid Maasai artisans and their craft.
On a recent visit to Kiserian for a video shoot with this project, we were greeted by Agnes, the leader of this group of artisans. We met her super-smiley grandson Joshua who was quickly wrapped onto Agnes’ back to join us for our day around the farmlands.
We met under nature’s umbrella, where Agnes and 15 other bead-making artisans from the community welcomed us with introductions and singing.
The song they sang asks God to give them a good name - watch the video here.
As they danced we couldn’t help admiring how their necklaces - their craftsmanship - added natural percussion.
After this joyful introduction, these women proceeded to show us their art.
Laughter and chatter intermingled as the artisans gently poured beads into the natural valley formed in their laps by bright cloth. They began weaving single beads onto strings in a tight, precise pattern.
This craftsmanship has been passed down in the Maasai culture from generation to generation, and it is apparent in all aspects of their life. They not only create jewelry but also accessories…bottle opener, anyone?
This technique is a beautiful accents to their clothes as well. The popular Maasai sheaths that Maasai men wear have this hand-stitched beaded detail.
The vision of the video shot that day was to highlight traditional Kenyan women. This resilient group made this easy to achieve, as they happily modeled and gave us a glimpse into their lives.
The beauty about doing a fashion shoot in the mountains of Kenya? Sometimes a herd of sheep and goats crash the scene. But we made them pose for us too…of course making sure to catch their good side!
10 points to nature for fantastic props. :)
We’ll announce more details about this exciting collaboration in the coming months! In the meantime, check out our current pieces made by these artisans.