In January 2018, the Simon Cumbers Media Fund sponsored photographer Fionn McCann and Irish Times fashion editor Deirdre McQuillan to spend a fortnight in Kenya to see first-hand the thriving creative sector that is putting African fashion on the map and changing lives by promoting an ethos of ‘trade not aid’. Supported in Kenya by Proudly Made in Africa, Fionn and Deirdre visited a number of leading African designers and their producers, mostly women in female-run or female-led factories. There, workers have the chance to lift themselves out of poverty by learning new skills that generate income, create financial independence and enable them to educate their children. This has made a huge difference to family life in marginalised communities in areas of drought, unemployment, high rates of HIV and prostitution issues.
The output of this trip was a feature in the Irish Times to coincide with this year’s Fashion Revolution Week and a stunning array of beautifully shot portraits, depicting contemporary Kenyan designers and the people involved in crafting their designs. ‘Stingo’ is an old Swahili slang word meaning style and is a fitting title for the socially-conscious style forces depicted in each image.
Opening night on 27th September will feature music, light refreshments and specially selected pieces from Atrium Boutique’s Africa collection, as models mingle with guests to browse this groundbreaking exhibition.