Organic. Fair Trade. Small Scale Production. Heritage.
Hamaji; meaning Nomad in coastal Swahili is a luxury ethical bohemian designer label created around preserving ancient textile traditions and nomadic craftsmanship while empowering local small scale artisans in Africa. Reigning from the East coast of Africa, Hamaji was launched in Kenya in 2017 by designer Louise Neoma Sommerlatte. Hamaji's collections support local artisan families throughout the country with a focus on female empowerment in rural Kenya.
The brand takes real pride in the individuality of each product as each piece is made with care in their workshop on the foothills of Mount Kenya. All materials are sourced around the world- from spice trade markets in the Middle East to nomadic desert festivals in northern Africa. Hamaji try to up-cycle collected vintage where possible and otherwise use sustainably sourced natural fibres. The collections of unique bohemian accessories & apparel have an eclectic nomad spirit meet boho traveller feel; combining textured prints in earthy hues with embroidery and hand beading.
Louise was born in Nairobi and raised on the Athi River plains and in the Chyulu hills. Having being brought up by a Father as a conservationist and a botanist of a Mother, her childhood in Africa was full of adventures. This is where her passion for nomadic craftsmanship and designing within her environment came about. She later completed her BA fashion design degree at Fedisa, in Cape Town and has since moved back to her families farm in Kenya to pursue her designing career, working with local neighbours.
All of Hamaji gets stitched together at a small collective in Nanyuki called Mitumba Arts. It consists of 20 local artisans working together, mostly in creating items made from second-hand clothes found at the ‘mitumba market’. All the profits are collectively shared between the artists consisting of tailors, upholsters, hand beaders and painters.
The Embroidery is done by a small group of 4 artisans that Hamaji work closely within the Ngara slum of Nairobi; together the team design and create the embroidery patterns, encouraging their creativity and supporting their small business in the meantime.
Nigerian tradesmen supply Hamaji with nomadic trinkets that they source in North and West Africa at annual nomadic desert festivals. They travel between East and West Africa, the Middle East and Yemen collecting ancient jewels and gems to trade amongst other artisans.
"I want each Hamaji piece to be a real treasure to the owner- when they wear this product I want them to feel a harmony of culture run through them, and a symphony of wandering threads each with their own nomadic story and heritage."