One of our missions as a brand is to make the world a little better through partnerships with local communities, and allowing them to share their cultural heritage and traditions with us. For our Fall / Winter 20/21 Collection glasses chains, we collaborated with Dutch/Kenyan label Haberdashery. Together, we created the exclusive Karibu Sunnycords® collection from Kenya.
“Karibu” means “Welcome” in Swahili.
During Sophie’s travels to Kenya, she was able to meet the Maasai women personally. Seeing how they make their traditional jewellery from up close, she was able to understand how this local production played an important role in their cultural life. The women of the Maasai tribe in Kenya have been known for their traditional handmade bead jewellery for generations, and have been creating beautiful necklaces, bracelets and pendants that can be worn by both women and men.
For this collaboration we worked together with Salomne, a beautiful Maasai woman who together with her local village, made the Karibu Collection by hand. With the income she obtained through this collaboration, she was able to send her four kids to school and financially support her family during times of Covid-19.
Salomne with three of her sons
Traditional clothing as worn by the Maasai tribes are mostly Shúká, which can be described as a colorful fabric cloth wrapped around the body made of a cotton fabric. The color of these fabrics are dependent on age and gender. Older men usually wear red Shúká, whereas women’s Shúká’s are checked, striped or other patterns of cloth. Along with traditional clothing, the beadwork as worn by the people of the Maasai tribe determines their position in society. Before trading occurred with the Europeans in the 19th century, the women of the Maasai tribe used natural materials such as clay, shells, and ivory, as these were materials that were easily sourced in their local environments. However, after the 19th century these materials were replaced with colorful glass beads, making it easier for the women to express social status through colored patterns on beadwork.
Locally crafted jewellery in the Maasai culture often has symbolic meaning, and the colours used frequently represent or symbolise elements of their cultural life. Find out more below:
Red symbolises bravery, unity and blood
White symbolises health, peace and purity
Yellow symbolises sun, fertility and growth
Blue symbolises energy
Orange symbolises warmth, generosity and friendship
In addition to being known for their famous beadwork, the Maasai tribe is also well-known for their music and dance. The traditional Maasai music, also known as Namba, is a form of call-and-response and is carried out by warriors along with a jumping form of dance. The warrior will try to jump as high as possible, and the other warriors will respond in a single tone depending on the height of the jump.
When Sophie visited the Maasai tribe during her travels, she was amazed by all the aspects of their culture, and immediately got inspired by their beautiful jewelry. She could see for herself how the women beaded their beautiful jewelry, and listened to their explanations of the meanings behind every individual piece. This led to her inspiration to collaborate for Coco Bonito’s Karibu Collection glasses straps. We collaborated with local women, such as Salomne, who created the beautiful sunglass straps. By buying one of the Karibu Sunnycords® you are supporting the local Maasai women, who are affected by the Covid-19 crisis in Kenya.
All the Sunnycords® from the Karibu Collection feature the iconic colours of the Maasai tribe, and allow you to experience a bit of the Maasai culture on your sunglasses, optical glasses or facemasks.