Combining contemporary style and Kenya’s traditions

Entrepreneurs across Africa are using innovative design skills to create an international buzz.

One such designer, Adele Dejak, based in Nairobi Kenya, has been combining Kenya’s traditions with a contemporary style through her jewellery. Dejak’s collections is inspired by Africa, crafted by hand and uses recycled materials – everything from melted down door knobs to car engines.

In an interview with CNN’s African Voices, Dejak says that she is looking to raise awareness of the handcrafted products that are created in Africa and help contribute to a wider creative renaissance taking place on the continent.

“Each collection is inspired by Africa. Every single thing starts with either an African tribe or something Africa. That’s a really crucial part of my brand aesthetic. So, I like a story behind a particular piece they wore. Each African tribe has got a story as to why they wear a certain thing. Even the Maasai colour is symbolic, people can connect to a story and I think it’s important,” she said.

On creating handmade products out of recycled materials Dejak added; “I think it’s really important that you know that you’re wearing something that has a human imprint on it… My workers, my team, I know are extremely passionate about this and they put their heart and soul into the piece. It’s not been put into some huge machine that cost millions. It’s actually made by hand and I think that’s a privilege now. That’s an absolute luxury for someone to put their heart and soul into something that they know is beautiful and they hope that women will appreciate this. Not just the shape, but also the story behind it.”

Explaining bringing African jewelry to the world Dejak said; “I’m hoping that the impact I make will make people realize the beautiful work, handmade work, can be made in Kenya and can be made in Africa. Whatever I design and is then produced, can give a sense of confidence, because it is about confidence – it is about feeling good, looking good, and wanting to be attractive. There’s so much creativity growing in Africa, it is literally a renaissance. It’s a revival, it’s an embrace, it’s a let’s be proud of who we are. Beautiful things are happening here. “