Posted by Mary Bosibori on



In 2012 Adèle Dejak was lucky enough to meet the Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani. Since spending time with Franca in Kampala and Nairobi the brand has been on an incredible journey working closely with Italy and creating awareness for the brand through exhibiting at Vogue talents during Milan fashion week and collaborating with Salvatore Ferragamo on BAGS FOR AFRICA. The latest stage of our journey sees the launch of our first clothing line with one of the best department stores in the world, La Rinascente, Italy.

Founded in 1865 La Rinascente has been a market leader in the fashion world changing the way in which consumers shop. Launching the first clothes line which was ready to wear their innovative approach has placed the store at the forefront of the fashion market. In the 1950s La Rinascente established itself as a catalyst for encouraging international cultural trends and continues to work in this way in 2013.


James working on Natasha Dress

Working with international partners is so important to our brand and to African designers more broadly. Part of the challenge facing products and design from Africa is gaining recognition in the international fashion market and showing that beautiful, high quality products can be made in Africa. The majority of our products are hand made in Kiambu on the outskirts of Nairobi by our team of talented artisans including our dresses for La Rinascente. We are proud to know that from April 2013 our products will be seen and worn by international clients.

The capsule collection for spring/summer 2013 is inspired by classic dress design and uses kitenge fabric from Kampala, Uganda. For our first collection we wanted to continue to blend African and European influences as we took designs that originated in Europe and re-styled them using materials and inspiration from East Africa. The production of the collection has crossed borders and nationalities as we worked with people in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. As with all our products the complex network of production is an important part of the final design and product. Dresses will be available in La Rinascente Milan in April 2013. Dresses will also be stocked in our outlets in Village Market, Nairobi, Westgate, Nairobi and Lamu, Kenya.


George working on Sheba dress


Douglas working on Grace dress

Produced in the run-up to the 2013 Kenyan elections, the collection for La Rinascente comes with its own unique history as we worked long and hard all the time hoping for a peaceful election to restore faith in Kenya and celebrate the success and potential of the country. As the final buttons were being sewn on, the labels attached and the boxes were packed we closed down the workshop. Sitting and waiting to be sent with love from Kenya to Italy our dresses neatly packed in their boxes for La Rinascente waited while the country voted. Many Kenyans waited for hours in the sun to cast their vote and hope for an outcome which would move the country forward. After days of waiting for votes to be counted, machines to be fixed and disputes to be resolved the country heard on Saturday 9th March that Uhuru Kenyatta would be the next president of Kenya, 5 days after the votes had been cast. Business started moving slowly again and the roads began to weigh heavy with the mass of cars, matatus and lorries which make up the permanent rush hour in Nairobi. And the clothes were sent.


James, Fred and George sewing buttons onto Njeri dresses


Key players in this collection, from left to right: Grace, Fred, Esther, George, Morine and James

Words by Emma Cavendish

For more information please contact info@Adè

2013 Adele Dejak africa African Fashion african wax african wax cloth artisan brand business Category_Our World clothes clothing culture dress dress making dutch wax cloth election elections fashion Franca Sozzani handmade handmade in africa italian Italy Kampala Kenya kenyan elections Kiambu kitenge la rinascente materials Nairobi production Salvatore Ferragamo sustainable tailor Uganda vogue women's fashion womenswear workshop

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