Posted: April 15th, 2011
12.4.2011 (Lagos) Kinabuti, an ethically driven Fashion Label created by the Italian designer and entrepreneur Caterina Bortolussi, announced the, “Elite Fashion Night”, a fund raising event to be organized in collaboration with the exquisite Grey Goose Vodka, Smooth FM 98.1 love music love life Radio and the extraordinary Fab Magazine, taking place at 8pm on Saturday April 30, at the stylish Reeds Bar Lounge and Restaurant, Ikoyi.
This night, which promises to be a memorable experience of beauty and glamour, with several celebrities and artists from Storm 360 Degrees, entertainment company participating in the event, in fact aims to raise funds in order to continue implementing social, educational and artistic projects that will contribute to improving the living conditions of disadvantages communities in Nigeria.
Ever since it’s unveiling during the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), Kinabuti has been committed to using fashion as a vehicle to empower the Nigerian young generation through the development of vocational skills and new job opportunities. In Our Ghetto, an initiative launched by Kinabuti Lab, the non-profit arm and driving force of the company, is an example of the way they operate. “I didn’t want to work with professional models -says the designer-. Work wise it could be easier because they have the experience but I’ve been living in Nigeria for the past six years and have always been surprised by the striking beauty and posture of the Nigerian women. So why not give them the opportunity they deserve?”
In Our Ghetto project proved to be a success. Prior to the first Fashion Show, Kinabuti Lab went into the communities of Bundu Waterside, Eleme, Marine Base Waterside and Igbikisikalama in Port Harcourt, and from one hundred and sixty participants selected twenty two girls who were trained by professionals in the skills of make-up, hairstyling, walking and the other elements needed to give them a deep understanding of the modelling profession, so that they could put it into practice during the Fashion Show and hopefully onwards developing professional modelling careers.
The initiative was so contagious that several celebrities such as Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Eku Edewor, Nneka Egbuna and Duncan Mighty participated either in the Fashion Show or the concert held in the community of Bundu Waterside.
However this is only one of the unique ways in which Kinabuti launched its label. To promote art projects in Nigeria, two international documentary photographers, Massimo Sciacca and Bruno Zanzottera, were invited to do a photo reportage and photo shoot in these communities. Further to this, London based filmmaker and associate of Punderson Garden production facility, Marcus Werner-Hed joined the team and spent two weeks following the girls in their daily lives and interviewing them for, In Our Ghetto, the documentary.
To celebrate the work of all the professionals that participated in the In Our Ghetto project, the Kinabuti Touring Exhibition will be held this year, a collective multimedia event that will be displayed in London, Paris, New York. “I think it is essential to take Nigeria on a trip to showcase it from another perspective -explains Caterina Bortolussi-. That of a beautiful and diverse country where art, music and culture blossom in every street”.
Now Kinabuti is preparing itself for a new challenge: the Kinabuti Elite Fashion Night, one of the most exciting fashion events of the year that will set Lagos aglow with several surprises and the special participation of the models involved in, In Our Ghetto. The proceeds from the night will be used to continue implementing different social and creative projects in Nigeria and encouraging the younger generation to go after their dreams.
“Kinabuti is more than just a label. It is about celebrating, inspiring and empowering women through very personal and innovative designs that enhance their natural beauty and make them feel good with themselves. It is also about using fashion as a vehicle to promote creativity amongst the young generation and provide them with the tools needed to develop their own potential”, says Italian Caterina Bortolussi, the designer and creator of Kinabuti, a Nigerian based fashion Label that ever since its takeoff in December of last year, has become a word of mouth sensation.
Caterina is sitting on a stool in her Atelier located in a quiet area of Lagos, in front of the lagoon. Small mountains of fabrics collected around the world are piled at her side waiting to be turned into the stylish designs that hang from the door-less wardrobes. The effect of the garments is hypnotic: vibrant coloured patterns with embellishments in gold and silver, dreamy ruffles and geometrical shapes, flowing tulles and feathers. Also, pins, needles, scissors, sketch books can be found all over the place. Once in a while she is interrupted by the noise of the sewing machine. Other times she politely interrupts the conversation to indicate something to the tailor who is working on a half-dressed mannequin. And then she continues. “I do believe that whatever we do should serve a purpose, otherwise it would be meaningless to me. So when I launched the first collection I knew I wanted to do it in a way I could give back to Nigeria the same inspiration and energy I borrowed from its lively streets”, explained the designer.
And so she did. Kinabuti is an ethically driven Fashion Label that uses fashion and art as a platform to develop different social and creative projects, all of them planned and implemented by the Kinabuti Lab, the nonprofit arm of the company. The driving force of Kinabuti Lab is improving living conditions of impoverished communities of Nigeria through creativity, educational training and new job opportunities.