Kenzania is currently using 2 different types of fabric in our designs. The first is called Kitenge. The Kitenge we have chosen is 100 percent cotton. This fabric is made in Tanzania and is typically worn by women. We purchase this fabric as soon as we see it as it can be “finished” a day or two later. Because the fabric is produced in limited quantities, we can only produce a finite amount of each design. Some of our designs can be as few as 3 and at the most 90. We consider the limitation of fabric to be a bonus for those who purchase our garments.
The second fabric we are using in our designs is called a Khanga…literally translated in Kiswahili as guinea fowl. Khanga’s are easily recognizable by the bold patterns, bright colors and the Swahili proverb on each piece. The proverbs were created to deal with subjects of conflict. For example, one reading Tukae tuishi wazuri hawaeshi” would be one given by a man to his wife. It says…” a couple should live together in harmony because there are many other beautiful women out there.” The Khanga is believed to have been introduced to East Africans by the Portuguese traders in the 18th century. Khanga’s are typically worn wrapped around a woman’s waist or body. We are using the Khanga in our blouses and tunics.
Below Masai Women wear the Khanga and Kitenge fabric. The woman in the center is wearing one of Kenzania’s fabrics we call “Orange Paisley”.