I’ve always found meeting international fashion designers inspiring, hearing about where they are from why they chose their career path and what makes them who they are. I got a chance to chat with designer of the brand Kahindo, who was showcasing designs this past weekend at Africa Fashion International. This is what she had to say…
Please tell us your name and the name of your brand.
My name is Kahindo Mateene and my brand is Kahindo.
Where are you from?
I’m from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Where are you based right now?
I am based in New York.
Tell us more about your brand?
Kahindo is a woman’s ready-to-wear label that infuses vibrant prints, bold colours with inspiration from Congolese culture, creating statement pieces for the progressive woman.
How long has it been around?
I started my brand in 2009 under the name Modahnik and changed it to Kahindo in 2016.
Which countries do you reach with your brand?
I ship worldwide and have clients all over Africa, as well as Europe and Asia.
What is the one city in the world you would love to live in?
It used to be New York, but now I would say Johannesburg, Kinshasa or Nairobi.
What inspires you?
Living in New York, I am surrounded by so much inspiration. But I also look to my culture, childhood, travels and places in which I have lived.
I am truly blessed that I have travelled and experienced many different cultures within Africa – this is a constant source of Inspiration.
What is the most important message you would like to spread?
As a child of Africa, I am always trying to showcase the positive within our beautiful continent, as well as empower women to be the best they can be.
In one sentence, advise the 16-year-old you.
Be strong and know that your path, despite its many challenges, is full of success, joy, and happiness and that your dreams will come true in God’s time.
Which album/s are you currently listening to?
The soundtrack to Black Panther. I just saw The Soil and Simphiwe Dana at the Cape Town Jazz Festival, so they are both on repeat.
Favourite book of all time, your current read and number 1 on your wishlist?
Favourites: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperCollins) and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Alfred A Knopf)
Current: A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo (Hachette Books)
Wishlist: Michelle Obama’s upcoming biography.
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who was instrumental in changing the Congolese and African narrative through fashion and empowering girls and women.
What does representation mean you to?
Representation is about being inclusive and unapologetically authentic.
Here are some of our favourite looks from her A/W collection.