Fashion designer Katungulu Mwendwa is the creative force behind Kenyan brand Katush. With a strong respect for the environment and a deep love of the culture around her, Katungulu approaches design as way to review and rethink perceptions of Kenyan, African and female identities.
She presented her latest collection, Gwaride 2.0, at Portugal Fashion.
Photos by Olesya Parfenyuk
Katush’s presentation at Portugal Fashion was a parade of stunning traditional craftwork fabrics made by artisan communities across Africa—a fitting display given “gwaride” translates as “parade” in Swahili. We saw hand-woven cotton fabrics made in partnership with a community in Burkina Faso, the custom prints made in collaborations with artists in Nairobi, and the Hoja T-shirt made from 100% organic cotton sourced and made in East Africa. The silhouettes and cuts recalled utility working outfits, straight, modern and with diagonal draping, embodying a striking contemporary minimalism.
That’s why we settled on Gwaride as the name of this collection, meaning ‘parade’. Through collaboration and sharing we’ve created something that embraces the energy of collective creativity, in the same way a parade is celebratory in its collectivity. from Katush on Instagram
With a BA in Fashion and Design from the University for the Creative Arts in the UK, Katungulu’s work brings together technical proficiency with her Kenyan culture and early immersion in traditional African crafts and art forms. Her current collection was accessorized with bold golden jewellry from Adèle Dejak. Founded in 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya, by Anglo-Nigerian designer, Adèle Dejak uses reclaimed and recycled materials sourced from across Africa.
Katungulu is part of the African initiative CANEX (Creative African NEXus), which is a platform to unite artists across Africa and present their work to the world—and now for the fourth time to Portugal Fashion. For AW24 CANEX was showcasing ten designers from nine African countries in Porto. Katush is working with LULUBELL, an African consulting firm that is reimagining African creativity and promoting and positioning African creatives on the global market.