Outfits for “kul” people: Interview with designer and lyricist Liz Ogumbo

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Liz Ogumbo: I am an African creative entity – fashion designer, stylist, author and performing artist & lyricist, working towards growing my fashion and music brand concurrently after spending about 14 years working within the fashion/modeling industry.

APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Liz: Focusing on my most recent range, 4 Saisons d’été de KenSoul! (4 Seasons of KenSoul Summer) showcased at the South Africa Fashion Week SS/12, my roots, culture and heritage played a heavy role in bringing it all together. In my Africa, the bright colors through the Kitenge fabric, also known as African Wax Print, are quite bold, expressing a whole lot more: personality, world view and African women’s approach to that.

APiF: Why are you using African Prints in your collection?
Liz: The Kitenge has finally become the epitome of timeless fashion. Very bold, fun, colorful, yet very authentic. Somehow the Kitenge allows one to shine through without hiding yourself. It works for all kinds of events: From simple meetings, to luncheons and dinner parties, to red carpet events and back to a romantic date. Throughout my creation process, my music coincides with my fashion as I flirt with printed Leso & Kitenge, dyed and re-dyed fabrics, printed cotton and chiffon and other embellished enhancements.

My album KenSoul reflects on my Kenyan soul and everything that inspires this range, hence the application of my album lyrics onto the range. The Lyrics have been printed on cottons and other fabric blends to be used for jacket, skirt, dress lining, swimwear, blouses and scarves to balance the textures, colors and fabric while integrating what I refer to as my KenSoul into my fashion.

My integration of the bling factor through the usage of sequin along with the Kitenge fabric plus my lyrics application exudes power, self-actualization, self-expression, self-determination, self-certainty and timeless elegance. To this modern woman, summer is a lifestyle expressed and translated through her mood, colors, cuts, lengths and textures.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Liz: A beautiful, fun, elegant, effortlessly chic, bold, “kul” human being!

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of yourcollection and why?
Liz: That’s the hardest question to answer! I would say my signature tiered skirts.

On this picture above you can see:
1. Tiered mini with shirring on the waist to accommodate size fluctuation

2. Tiered mini with dyed/re-dyed Kitenge and draw string on waist to cater for size fluctuation.

3. Knee-length tiered mini with shirring on waist to cover size fluctuation.

4. Wrap-tiered maxi skirt to wrap around all those beautiful hips out there.

It’s a high time we got value for what we spend during recessionaissance.
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Liz: Besides the online market through my website and social media, I have a showroom in Johannesburg and a few outlets across the continent who carry some of my designs. However, I am constantly looking for new outlets far and beyond to stock my fashion offering.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Liz: Stay focused and never let anyone show you how to create your own story! Spend a lot of time on research, find out what your story is and the market it appeals to and then go! You are the story-teller so tell & sell.
APiF: What are your fashion plans for 2012?
Liz: I am hustling to grow and expand my fashion business everyday. I just completed SA Fashion Week and I am hoping to get into a major trade show this year. I also want to focus on my music through upcoming festivals and my next album.

Find out more:
w: http://www.lizogumbo.com/
f: https://www.facebook.com/LizOgumboKenSoul
t: https://twitter.com/#!/lizogumbo

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