swahili fashion week: martha jabo
(images via hfa)
so i’ve been perpetually saying how vexing it is that we’re just not getting much information on so many of the designers presenting at the african fashion weeks opt has been taking a closer look at of late, but perhaps in martha jabo’s case it kind of makes sense. in one of the few articles i found on her s/s 2013 range presented at dar es salaam’s swahili fashion week, i learned that she’s only just out of school.
a native of uganda, according to the ugandan daily monitor, the site explained that ms. jabo was “a fresh Makerere University Industrial Arts and Design graduate,” and quoted the designer as noting that in her collections, “I aim for the high end customer. My clothes are fashion forward but also practical.” and indeed, although she definitely played with some intense volume and some bold prints, she also included some monochromatic pieces in her short show, such as a lovely, high-waisted, silky fluttering black skirt, or a sharp and uber-lean black pencil skirt accentuated with thin silver chains at the waistline.
but that isn’t to suggest ms. jabo isn’t about taking risks, either. for example, when she seemed to want to get amped up, we saw a long-sleeved bodysuit with the very same chains at the waistline (and demure long sleeves, though that was about the only thing that was) featuring bold, wide bishop sleeves and a scratchy banana yellow and blue-black print. and there were a couple of fully sheer long black skirts and an evening dress that would presumably only be for the bravest of girls, featuring as it did an almost bondage-like brace circling the neck.
there were hints enough of both the eighties and the fifties, i’d say, and it was when she was in this more retro state of mind that i’d argue ms. jabo did her best work. particularly enticing to me was a little bandeau top teamed with a high-waisted a-line school uniform-style skirt, both of which were done up in a yellow-and-black circular graphic print that said just enough 1950’s beachwear to be charmingly vintage, and yet showed enough skin with its strongly defined lines to be definitively modern, as well.