Capital FM (Nairobi)

8 January 2013

Kenya: The AW12 ASOS Africa Collection

The popular ASOS Africa range has been getting positive reviews since its inception and dropped their latest winter collection a few months ago.

The AW12 collection ASOS AFRICA offers a color palette of rich tones, softened with neutral shades, ASOS AFRICA brings forth a contemporary collection with a sports luxe aesthetic, as rich Italian wools sit alongside traditional print fabrics, produced exclusively for them in Mombasa. Channelling a utilitarian vibe, the line re-interprets classic styles with a modern twist by experimenting with textures; expect slouchy jersey basics, shell tops and vibrant printed dresses with a clean sportswear silhouette.

In all honesty this collection seems to have lost a lot of the African connection ... aesthetically ... which made us fall in love in the beginning. But what we do love about it is that it's produced in collaboration with SOKO Kenya, an amazing production unit in Kenya who through their work are allowing underprivileged communities to establish sustainable business through local craftsmanship. And this 'Made in Africa' concept is what we hugely support.

SOKO was set up in 2009 by Joanna Maiden to provide the link between the international fashion industry and the local community in Kenya through making beautiful clothes. They offer a full CMT process to include fabric sourcing, garment manufacturing, labelling and packaging to the client's specification as well as managing export and shipping.

SOKO sources locally and supplies the European and US market, both high end and mainstream, with quality products made to the highest manufacturing standards and can be seen in this latest collection for ASOS.

SOKO operates and trades on two principal levels:

1 The production of quality, competitively priced, fashion driven garments to the international fashion industry.

2 The improvement of the quality of life for the local population through vocational training, employment opportunities and improved social services.

This collection has its own story for example the bodycon fit dress below has been handmade in Africa from cotton-rich, stretch twill fabric. The details include: a hand illustrated print inspired by William Morris, fitted bodice with a pointed sweetheart neckline, a full skirted peplum with organza lining to the waist and an exposed zip fastening with a grosgrain ribbon trim through the back.

The shirt by ASOS AFRICA with a classic point collar and cuffed sleeves has been handmade in Africa from silky fabric with a hand illustrated print also inspired by William Morris. Styles also include a shirt by ASOS AFRICA handmade in Africa from a premium wool blend with a heavy jacquard check.

Definitely one to check out!

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