Twenty years ago I studied on the beautiful island of Lamu off the Swahili Coast of East Africa. I was taking World Religion and African Literature courses through Baylor University, and going to Lamu was definitely a highlight. When returning to Kenya to finalize the designs and prepare for the launch of several new artisan partnerships featured in this collection, I thought it would be perfect to revisit Lamu and plan a photoshoot on this enchanting island. It had remained magical in my mind and I was so pleased to find it hadn’t changed one bit.
Lamu was a main stopping point on the ancient trading routes, so the architecture and culture have a beautiful and unique mix of Arabic, Indian, and African influences which has become known as the Swahili Coast. It has become one of my favorite architectural styles, and I am so grateful to be able to feature two stunning examples in this collection’s lookbook: Amber House and Andavelo House. We also used a replica of an ancient wood trading boat called a Jahazi as featured on the cover. The colors of our Spring/Summer ‘15 collection are inspired by the colors on the island (namely terra-cotta, sun yellow, and silver grey). It was amazing to see that the patterns and shapes found on the island even reflected the Mayan-inspired patterns of our new apparel partnership in Guatemala. I think we all felt we had gone back in time hundreds of years, and I am so proud of the group that bravely journeyed with me during a time of unrest in Kenya. Pictured below is Make-Up and Hair stylist Tiffany Schwedland, Assistant Stylist Danielle Gano, myself, Model Robyn Schrikker, and photographer Melinda Di Mauro. See the lookbook here.
Most of all I am so thrilled to introduce you to the new apparel (Guatemala) and jewelry (Kenya) partnerships that are launching with this collection (pictured below). The beauty of each new design captures and reflects the beauty of the women who hand-craft the entire Raven + Lily collection from around the world (representing 13 artisan partnerships). As always our exclusive designs are named after the artisans and their hopeful stories are found on our website. I invite you to take some time to learn more about who makes our designs and how they are made here and here. The story behind each design is at the very heart of Raven + Lily.
Shop the new Spring/Summer '15 Collection: ravenandlily.com