Being in Uganda had its own advantages. I got to refocus on photography and research on styles and looks that I felt would resonate with my brand aesthetic.
I also learned a lot about Ankole cow horn (whose origin is Uganda) techniques for making jewellery and I met amazing artisans who still make the designs and pieces.
If I hadn’t been in Uganda for the amount of time that I was, my design methods would’t have transitioned as they have. Being away forced me to fine tune the direction I wanted to move.
Through reflections on the brand journey I realised I wanted to focus on the brand as a luxury one that captured the soul of my long passion with jewellery and fashion accessories.
It was also during my stay in Uganda that I designed the Swaady collection, named after Swaady Martin, who inspired me and we since became friends.
The Swaady/// AD LUX Collection pieces show a new dynamic side to the Adele Dejak brand. My objective for creating it was to showcase the African luxury movement as it draws on rich African heritage to create products which celebrate beauty and design in Africa and to welcome the African Renaissance.
I also started to incorporate 24kt gold leaf appliqué to the Ankole cow horn and I did a course in London to learn this skill. When I next visited Kenya I passed down this skill to Mutuku, my artisan.
Sometimes I miss Uganda a lot but, I carry with me memories and great lessons. It will always be a second home to me.