Tribes Of Kin

Tribes of Kin delivers imaginative and modern interpretations of Kenteimg_3771

 By Francine Holmes

Tribes of Kin is a fashion design house and a fellow Etsy creative. I had the pleasure to interview owner and designer Valemia Atabong about her journey from inception of Tribes of Kin as well as her creative process. Valemia incorporates vibrant patterns and colors of African fabrics and mostly Ghanaian Kente into western designs to create a vivid cultural visual that can’t help but to grab one’s attention.

FLF: Tell us a bit about Valemia Atabong, who she is and where did Tribes of Kin come from?

VA: I am originally from Cameroon, I immigrated to the U.S at age 12. The love for sewing developed from observing my grandmother on her Singer sewing machine. I was discouraged from learning the craft in place of more practical and conventional studies. Despite that, I would get on her sewing machine when she wasn’t around, I secretly taught myself how to sew.

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I did follow the conventional route and obtained a degree in psychology, but I eventually decided to live an authentic life and that meant going after my passion that’s when Tribes Of Kin was born. The name originated out of a desire to form a community of like minded people.

FLF: What do you enjoy most about being a fashion designer and have you noticed a change in your work ethic to accommodate for the  demands of this creative process?

VA: My favorite part about being a fashion designer is seeing my designs go from a thought to being brought to life and transformed. Fashion, for me started out as a hobby but it has definitely developed into a full time job now. When it comes to my work ethic, my motto is to be my own cheerleader, which means forcing myself to work even on those days when I would like nothing more than to just sleep in. At the moment I am a one woman show, which involves all aspects of running a business, the administrative and the creative aspects. I have hopes of collaborating and expanding with other artists in the future.

 Kente cloth is my favorite print and I dream of a world covered in Kente. I see fashion as an expression of who I am, where I am from and in what I believe -Valemia Atabong

FLF:Your line appears to have strong African influences, describe the overall aesthetic of your brand as well as your targeted audience, if you do have one?

VA:I mostly use the Ghanaian Kente Fabric, It’s the fabric of kings and nobility; It is my favorite print and the most popular of African prints.  My overall aesthetic is traditional west African mixed with modern American street fashion. I see fashion as an expression of who I am, where I am from and in what I believe. I am inspired by my world travels and combining my African heritage with a western twist.  My targeted audience is anyone img_3766who’s not afraid to experiment with their everyday look,  I’m especially happy to help give a place for black women who want to connect with their heritage. Through my online store, my designs are available to everyone worldwide who’s looking to express themselves through African culture.

 FLF:When designing what do you hope your audience sees or gets from it, at a glance ?

VA: I truly hope that my audience sees a modern style with a cultural connection; whether its a pair of shorts a bathing suit or something more experimental to provide a unique way to express that connection.

FLF: Is your goal to stay current, on top of current fashion trends or to be the trendsetter?

VA: I consider myself a trendsetter because I originated the KenteKini (Kente bikini) trend, I was the first designer to start making bikinis out of kente cloth which has since been copied by others designers.

FLF:What are your plans for the future and what’s next for your Brand?

VA:My plan for the future is to have my designs made in Cameroon and to potentially host other Cameroonian crafters and artists on my website, to bridge the gap and to provide them with a global platform as well to showcase and sell their art.

Click on the following links to shop Tribes of Kin or visit the Etsy shop

Subscribe to Tribes of Kin social media by clicking on the links below

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Aloha September

Aloha Sept

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Tea Tree Thyme clarifying shampoo

By Francine Holmes

 Using Tea tree oil can prove extremely beneficial for any hair and skin care routine.

tea-tree-oil-1024x741The tree oil, extracted from the tea tree plant is a safe essential oil that has a strong very distinct minty, balsamic and almost medicinal smell. Tea tree oil has multiple benefits due to its antiseptic, antimicrobial  and antifungal properties. It can help heal cuts, infections, rashes and on hair reduce dandruff and the associated itchy scalp by getting rid of bacteria causing breakout.FancyNaturals’ Tea Tree Thyme is a must-have for your hair and skin care routine.TeaTreePromotion25

Our Tea Tree Thyme clarifying hair and body shampoo is the perfect balance to help you to achieve healthy hair and skin. The combination of tree tree, eucalyptus and Thyme, other effective antiseptic and deodorizing agents that stimulate circulation makes our shampoo a gentle astringent for oily, combination, or normal complexion.

It leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed.

Our shampoo is an infusion of botanical extracts with aloe vera, vegetable glycerin, a moisturizing humectant to add body, slip and retain moisture. Tea Tree Thyme is a gentle and deep cleansing formula helps control frizz while giving your hair shine and manageability. It cleanses and removes product build-up, impurities, oil and dirt with a cooling and tingling feeling

As always our products contain No Parabens, No Petroleum,  No Mineral oil  or Artificial Colors!

 

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Baby Swaddle Hack

The current trend for parents is these beautiful swaddles, (pictured right) with hip designs. They are all the rage, celebrities are rocking them which further adds to their appeal. As a first time mother of newborn twins, I wish nothing more than to hang on to any remaining shred of coolness! So in wanting to keep up with the Joneses yet be practical about the demands of two babies, I DIYed the heck out of these swaddles. The brand name swaddle set retails at $45 for a pack of 3. So to  provide some cost comparison to our DIY project, that price is representative of the higher end currently on the market.

                                                                            If you’re on a budget, your best option is to DIY the heck out of it!

Gauze or muslin, the names are sometimes interchangeable.  There is not much difference between the two fabrics, they are both equal weft plain weave, ultra lightweight, semi-sheer cotton fabric with the exception that gauze is a lighter material.

The muslin I used is sold on Fabric.com for $3.97 a yard, measuring 45 inches x 36 inches. The brand name swaddles are slightly bigger measuring at 47in x 47inches. For my purpose I only needed a yard, you can off course get more than one yard, so let’s get started!

My supplies and cost:

  • 1 yard of fabric (3 -one yard) $3.97  ea
  • Tulip soft matte fabric paint 2oz (available at craft store or Amazon – your choice of color) $3.25 ea
  • Wooden stamp $ 5.00 (Etsy has a wide variety like the one shown from great vendors-link included)
  • 2-3 paint brushes (depending on the number of colors you’re using) $0.99 ea
  • 4-6 thumb tacks (optional)
  • 1 cardboard box (prevents paint from seeping through and protects your work surface) free  

  It all adds up to a grand total of $25.39

That is a fraction of the the cost for the brand name item, and keep in mind that the paint stamp and brush are a one time cost. When you’re ready to do it this again, you only have to purchase the fabric.So lets get started:

First begin by gathering all of your supplies, it helps to be organized. Find a large surface to work on, place the cardboard on your work station, this is optional but you can use pins or thumbtack to hold the corners. Brush the paint into the stamp and press it on your fabric. And repeat this process until the desired pattern is obtained. Clean up is easy, simply rinse all of your materials with warm water and leave them out to dry and done.


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Tamarind Juice (Tomi Dji)

Tamarind juice is one of my favorite childhood drinks, it is easy to make, refreshing and helps beat the summer heat.

I have found different versions of this recipe, some were creative enough to make it into an alcoholic  cocktail, which I never attempted since I prefer it virgin. It is one of those stand alone drinks  that just doesn’t  need it. A chilled pitcher of Tamarind juice TamarindJuice can be quite refreshing and you can toss in slices of lime or lemons for extra freshness. For my recipe, I use Fiji Islands Natural Tamarind ( pictured below) It makes figuring out measurements, water to tamarind/juice ratio so much easier than when using the individual tamarind pods.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of tamarind paste (link attached )
  • 1 cup of agave (or less, you can also use sugar, sweetener or honey) 
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 32 oz of water
  • 1 oz of lemon or lime juice
  • 5 oz of pineapple juice (optional)

Preparation:81rdcLEEvtL._SY679_

Place the tamarind paste into a large bowl or pitcher, then pour in some of the water (10-12oz) gradually while stirring the paste. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes in order for the paste to soften and to completely dissolved.

Using a wooden spoon, break up the paste(if any), continue stirring as you add the remaining water. Using a sieve, filter the mixture to separate the pulp.

Now keep stirring as you add the remaining ingredients: pineapple juice, vanilla, lemon juice and agave. Place in refrigerator to cool or serve chilled with ice.

Enjoy and bon appétit!

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African Print Jumpsuit

By Francine Holmes

I found this gorgeous piece on one of my favorite websites for African clothing. This particular piece is handmade,  100% cotton wax print jumpsuit with two side pockets, a pleated waistline and comes with a detachable sash.

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 Available for sale on Zuvaa.com

 

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Happy 4th of July

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Eponge Filet – African Exfoliating Body Net Restocked

Eponge Filet – African Exfoliating Body Net  is back in stock and available for purchase while supplies last!

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Used for centuries in Africa, this net is used in the shower as the perfect tool to clean and exfoliate skin. The washing net is great for the removal of dead skin cells and enhancing circulation. A great exfoliating tool, the net may feel harsh at first, but the texture softens after repeated use.

The net stretches to allow you to get to those hard to reach places like your back with ease. It is easy to use, when done simply rinse and hang it to dry. The net traps less bacteria than a washcloth, so it is recommended disinfecting every 4 months by soaking in boiling water.

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Nets are available in assorted colors and measure approximately:
-Regular:38in long/16in wide*
-Long:60in long/16in wide*
* These measurements are an approximation based on the nets’ stretched length, however it can vary by a (+) or (-) margin based on net’s texture.
–Long is ideally recommended for adults–

 

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African Black Soap

by Francine Holmes

Originating from West Africa, African black soap is a gentle cleanser made from il_fullxfull.844678976_l1adShea nuts, plantain skin, camwood and palm oil through a unique process that has been passed down for generations.

African black soap is an effective cleanser for daily use on all skin types.  It contains an abundance of antioxidants, iron, cinnamic acid, and vitamins A and E.

This soap is all natural, soft in texture and clean, earthy scent has remarkable skin healing properties.

The high Shea butter content makes it ideal for achieving and maintaining smooth, unblemished skin.  The ashes used in making the soap give it wonderful exfoliating properties to soften dry, irritated skin.  African black soap also works great at reducing  breakouts, skin discoloration, and razor bumps, and helps your skin retain its elasticity. Additionally, African black soap can also be used as a makeup remover, a shampoo that cleans out product build up, a moisturizer for dry scalp, and even a dandruff minimizer. 

 

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Memorial Sale

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