We have recently come back from a trip to Namibia, where we were inspired by the sun and endless space – so much room for thought and creativity. We picked up a few little pieces to show and sell in Fen. One of our favourites are these lovely cuff bracelets – that look more modern than ethnic, made traditionally by the Himba people, one of the most photographed tribes in Namibia due to their interesting attire and way of adorning themselves with ochre, mud and fat. Particularly interesting to us is the way they make their bracelets: sections cut off from pvc pipes and striking shapes etched into them – so not only beautiful but great for the environment too.
One of our favourite things to do is finding and promoting young and unknown artists. On one of our walkabouts we came across the work of Zefrino, a Mozambican artist who uses waste products, specifically old aluminum pot lids and turns them into very interesting, curious looking faces, that have been popular with our customers and also a great conversation starter for people coming into Fen.
Up-cycling is something which I have also dabbled in with the making of my magic rings. To make these little beauties I use scraps of fabric and buttons and bits previously discarded. Thanks to places like Etsy (www.etsy.com) I have realised that there are whole communities out there up-cycling and creating new and beautiful things.
From Louis Vuitton’s Voodoo Shoes and ‘grass skirts’, to the colourful prints used by Emilio Pucci, Issey Miyake and Mui Mui (to name a few…), the rage this summer is not only colour but incorporating the positive vibrations found from global exotic cultures along with our everyday wear. Mixing it up, something which Hadba always encouraged me to do in my work is the way forward this summer, and for me, always – wearing a little story on your finger and piece of history in your ear together with an abaya reworked to make it look more now, or African print skirt with a seriously tailored jacket.
For me, the ultimate summer accessory is one that comes from traveling and can only be found from the highest mountain, oldest desert or hidden shops from an ancient souk. Going to these places provides a tale to go along with a piece of clothing or accessory, an account beyond ordinary, where really creative ideas come from.
How to make this dream work faced with realities of everyday life, the economic crisis and what not? The answer my dear is quite elementary: Fen treasures. And if you can’t easyjet it to Berlin, internet shop it – we will be more than happy to sell an anecdote along with it.