MEET THE DESIGNER NJOKI GITAHI
Our (multi-!) talented designers are at the core of 54kibo. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with geologist turned graphic designer, Njoki Gitahi, the talented mind behind our Nkyimu blankets & swaddles. Gitahi walked us through her design process and the inspiration behind this collection.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS FOR CREATING THE SWADDLE DESIGNS?
Njoki Gitahi: Nana, founder of 54kibo, understands how special swaddles are for mothers and new babies, and it was important that their design carry deep meaning. She chose key values from Adinkra symbology to anchor the pattern designs - love, wisdom, success and strength. We also had a wealth of West African pattern references from textiles and books to use for inspiration. I tried to strike a balance between the bold, graphic nature of traditional patterns and maintaining a sense of lightness and delicacy appropriate for a swaddle. I created a lot of different patterns with variations on line weight, placement, and coverage, and eventually we selected the options you see today.
WHAT DID THIS PARTICULAR PROJECT MEAN TO YOU?
Njoki Gitahi: When I heard about what Nana was trying to do, I was immediately on board. I'm Kenyan and my father collected African art, so I grew up with an appreciation for the variety and intricacy of artistry that comes from all over the continent. Nana's mission to make contemporary African design more accessible and to create a stage for its creators really resonated with me and also made me excited at the prospect that I could have more access myself!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS ON 54KIBO, AND WHY?
Njoki Gitahi: I'm obviously very biased toward swaddles, but I love the Adunni Ottomans and the Mutapo Ceramic Platters.
Consider Ethiopian handmade swaddles to gift a newborn. Choose from a variety of colors. Each order comes in a 2-set, packaged nicely for direct delivery to the recipient.