“Good shoes take you good places”
Seo Min Hyun
Shoes are a passion and often reflect the identity of a country like many other handcrafted works. They are an important part of our daily life as they can bring us everywhere. You can wear everything as long as you put a nice pair of shoes with. They reflect your personality.
I’ve been living and travelling in Kenya for many years and i fell in love with the beaded shoes that skilled artisans make every day with inventiveness and passion using the famous Maasai beads. Beadwork is a cultural practice in East Africa with great importance and symbolism to the community.
In fact East Africa is home of beautiful beaded ornaments that represent Maasai tradition and culture. The tradition of Maasai beadwork dates back hundreds of years but it became known to the rest of the world in the 19th century after trade with other tribes.
Initially beads weren’t the original material used. Maasai women (it’s considered their duty to learn beadwork) used things like seeds, clay and shells as materials to make the traditional ornaments, but over time they began using attractive beads made of plastic and glass obtained from other communities through trade. These products are for both men and women and are worn according to the age and social status of an individual.
During my time in East Africa I decided to develop a line of handcrafted beaded sandals for women. I found a skilled passionate artisan and together, following the tradition, we created authentic and raw stylish sandals rich in detail and history, attesting to the incredible skills of local Swahili people.
Different colors hold special meaning and I decided for our start to use only white and blue, adding the silver to give a touch of brilliance, charm and character.
White represents health, peace and purity.
Blue is the color of the sky and the sea and represents energy.
Red is the color of passionate love, seduction and adventure.
Multicultural influences can be seen in Swahili arts and crafts.
These sandals have a story, a story of the Swahili culture that has developed over thousands of years through the amalgamation of various cultures, with the initial mix of the Arab and the native Bantu tribes along the East African Coast.
“The right shoe can make everything different”