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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Indie Inspiration: urban knit Handbags And Scarves

Written By: Jamelia Mmari—When MIMI first published an article about urbanknit two years ago, writer Belinda Otas wrote, "Known for their bold and eclectic mix of colours, African fabrics have become the new craze of the fashion world in recent years; from the runways of South African Fashion Week to last years Runway Africa fashion show in Washington D.C. African designers now understand they too can be versatile with the different blend of colours and fabrics ranging from Nigeria’s Ankara and Adire,—popularly known as ‘Tie and Dye’—to Shwe-shwe from South Africa. The myriad of designs on offer makes it challenging to decide on what to pick when you go to the market but that is no stressful task for Dolapo James. It started out of boredom. According to James, it was never a conscious decision to start a company but today, she is learning fast about what it takes to own and run your own business. What might seem like a daunting pursuit is nothing out of the extraordinaire for this young Nigerian who learnt to knit as a child. 'I started out of sheer boredom one year while job hunting, my mum had taught me how to knit when I was little.” From knitting, she started making items for her family members which she describes as being awful. “I always liked making things and my family was my guinea pig because I was always making stuff that was awful but they indulged me and never discouraged me,' she says."

Today, urbanknit continues to make scarves (knitted in 100% merino wool and cashmere) as well as bags (fabricated from bold combinations of adire, batik, bright prints, satin, ankara and interesting fabrics from all over the world), which are sold at urbanknit's Etsy Shop. Dolapo shares, "I enjoy making one-off accessories in new and interesting ways. Get a funky knitted cowl, scarf or neckwarmer or a bright clutch, zipper pouch or tote all available in bold African fabrics like Adire, Ankara, Aso-oke and contrasted with denim, cotton, leather, silk, satin and so much more. You will definately find something for you."

My personal favorites are the thoroughly modern and Afri-chic vintage styled purses made from ankara.

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