What is your brand ethos?
At Hamaji we focus on co-creation in rural Kenya. Working with local artisans, our collections embody a fusion of contemporary and traditional design. With people and the planet at the forefront, we seek to maintain artisanal craft whilst designing with local materials and up-cycling vintage textiles to create a circular flow of design ingenuity.
How does that translate into your designs and business model?
We try to practice what we preach in every step of the design journey. Our collections are made from natural fibers or otherwise upcycled vintage textiles. We work closely with small communities in Kenya who knit, hand weave, bead or embroider our creations. We also source raw materials from India and embellish them through traditional methods of woodblock printing and natural dyeing. Our garments are made at Wildlife Works, the first carbon-neutral factory in the world supporting communities in rural Kenya, conservation, and forestry. We are a small trans-seasonal brand highlighting the diversity and longevity of our collections and therefore sustainability.
What has being part of EFI’s Accelerator Program meant for you?
It’s been an incredible honor and milestone in our brand’s journey to have been selected as part of the EFI program. The knowledge, support, and mentorship from top industry professionals who support the program has been the most rewarding and empowering experience.
What main lessons would you say you’ve taken away from it?
I’ve taken away so much it’s hard to put it down in words; from the whole experience, the due diligence, spending two months in Florence at Polimoda, Paris Fashion Week, the countless masterclasses, everyday support from the EFI, constructive criticism, business plans, excel sheet master, you name it! Under all the stress and pressure, I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is to stay true to my brand and my design style, and ideals but to never stop pushing boundaries and exploring new techniques of design and to continue to be an example for sustainable fashion.
How has/is your brand evolving through the program?
The brand has grown from the roots up through the support of the EFI in terms of business growth, brand transparency, incredible new contacts, and connections.
What is your vision for your brand for the years to come ?
For the brand to grow slowly and steadily, to not lose sight of our founding principles. To stock well-known boutiques worldwide and to eventually have our own retail outlet in Nairobi.