It's been over a week since we debuted the new collection, launched our lookbook, had our first major pop up of the spring season at Northern Grade. This week, we were delighted to be featured in the Washingtonian and launch our 7-day online pop up with Bezar Marketplace - a marketplace where people who design special things connect with people who desire special things. What feels like a month has actually been two weeks - phew! On this grey and peaceful day, I thought I would share more details behind the collection and the aesthetic - the pieces that have meanings and the pieces that just make us happy.
One of the principles that guide Kicheko's design is an eclectic minimalism. I love the style and choosiness that our customers exhibit in their fashion choices and desired to provide an array of necklaces that invoke simple silhouettes using quality elements. Sia has been a constant on my playlist and while listening to 1000 Forms of Fear, the inspiration for Elastic Heart emerged. I liked the idea of using neoprene, a resilient, memorable, and highly functional material. Coupled with gold-plated brass tubing, I love the simple lines and curves it adds to a look. I can see this paired with a blazer/collared dress shirt on the weekdays and a t-shirt/jeans/ballet flats outfit on the weekends. The Blush Sterling is another playful pendant necklace using double-stranded blush faux leather and a matte silver-plated pear shape pendant. The Tusker Half Moon establishes a different combination of nylon cording, gold-plated brass arc, and soft white leather to create a longer necklace that is malleable, clean and creates interesting shape to your outfit.
Last season, Kicheko released the Parlay Cords, natural braided rope and nylon cording set on gold-plated magnetic closures. We introduced it as the "lego of necklaces," something that can be built upon, combined with various colors, and even coupled with necklaces incorporating the magnetic closures. It's been so fun to see what you've all done with the Parlay Cords - the combinations you've made varying color, texture, and knots. I love the versatility of the pieces that can be worn in professional settings and on weekends just wiling out. It even fits the needs of moms with young children because their little ones can tug on the necklaces (okay let's be real, rip off the necklaces) and the necklace proves resilient just needing to be clicked back into place and reshaped.
Sketching for a collection released between spring and summer, it wouldn't be right without considering a season that is meant to be spent by water at some point - the beach, lake, kayaks, sailboats, etc. I definitely had nautical inspiration on the mind and began researching various knotting techniques. Some of these knots are incorporated in the Kedge Hollow and Darling Hitch necklaces. The Solstice uses 100% natural cotton braided rope, another nautically inspired element, and can be combined with various fiber tassel pendants in several gemstone colors.
Observing the collection, you can quickly gather that Kicheko enjoys using mixed materials. Two of our new necklaces, the Synthesis and Gilded Terra use unglazed ceramic beads crafted by a collective of women in South Africa. I wrapped and sealed the beads in gold foil with the intention of creating a speckled pattern. Customers have shared that the beads look like golden worlds - definitely an inadvertent effect but I love it! The Synthesis uses woven lavender cording, magnetic closures and white leather. The Gilded Terra features a ceramic bead centered by gold-plated metal bars.
I try to incorporate an earthy sensibility in Kicheko's designs, which extends itself to recycling and using natural materials. The deer tine necklaces use 100% deer or elk tine naturally shed. The tine is cut, sanded, drilled and coated in acrylic. Set on a dainty 14k gold-fill chain, the deer tine necklace balances edge with elegance. Quartz is an energetic, balancing and amplifying stone. It harmonizes and is a prolific natural stone. I love using quartz in Kicheko's necklaces and studs. The hexagon studs are laser cut and hand-painted in acrylic for a modern yet woodsy look.
Along with the release of the new collection, I am so excited to share with you not only our new pieces but also our giving model. Each purchase from Kicheko's new collection provides a scholarship for children most in need to attend school for one month in eastern Congo. Currently, Kicheko is working with Mango Tree School, a primary school based in Uvira that educates over 200 primary-level students in the South Kivu province who are underresourced and cannot afford school fees and the other costs associated with attending school.
This year our goal is to help students most in need to attend school year round. Often times, families will be able to afford school fees for only a few months. Children cannot attend school the remaining months of the academic year resulting in them falling behind unable to successfully complete year end exams and sadly, the cycle repeats the following year. Kicheko is trying to combat this cycle by identifying students who are most in need and working with families to ensure that their children stay in school year round. Our model extends to earrings too! Each purchase of the wooden hexagons or druzy quartz will also send a child to school for one month. Two pairs of fabric covered studs will send a child to school for one month. I hope you've enjoyed reading more about the pieces in our new collection and that you feel that much more inspired to shop and share Kicheko!