Loza Maléombho, who was recently featured on Saint Heron’s Black Designer Spotlight, is a Cote-d’Ivoire-based designer who draws on the fusion of cultures, sub-cultures and contemporary fashion. She describes her AW/15 collection as the merging of the “contemporary streets of New York and the traditional culture of Cote-d’Ivoire.” Loza, who was born Brazil and grew up in the United States, relocated her production to Cote-d’Ivoire in an effort to empower women. According to her website, she hires young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, and works closely with local artisans in her production of fabric, jewelry, shoes and accessories. The beauty of her work is only surpassed by the generous architecture of her production. It is incredibly inspiring to see a designer using their craft to promote economic opportunity for people in poverty. Below are some of her pieces from the most recent collection:
Photos by Daniel Sery
In addition to her clothing design, Loza is also engaging in a social movement on Instagram she’s entitled #alienedits. In her interview with Africa is a Country, she describes how “alien edits are socially conscious selfies expressed through style, pride, grace, and cultural awareness and against racial, class, cultural, religious and sexuality stereotypes, all of which cause a state of alienation on its victims.” She also shares how the influence for this series came from a series of injustices, ranging from the Darren Wilson verdict in the United States to Boko Haram in Nigeria. She goes on to describe how the feelings that followed these events were those of alienation, and of self-devaluation. #Alienedits became a means through which she found pride, self-validation, and a way to respond to current events and celebrate cultural diversity.
The beauty of this series lies in the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of her pictures. On Instagram, each picture is accompanied by a simple caption, giving brief insight into the thought process behind the picture, but leaving much of the interpretation up to the viewer.On occasion, she does provide an explanation of her artistic process. For example, in her interview she with Africa is a Country she explained how the first picture below, entitled “Helmet of Grace” is meant to represent the version of herself she aspires to be: someone who is led by grace. From her pictures, to her designs everything about Loza Maleombho is an exquisite piece of art. Her activism and intentionality make her work exciting to digest.The growth of this series, as well as her artistic commentary on current events, will definitely be something to look forward to.
Below are a few of the pictures from the #alienedits series: