Today, online decor source (and one of House Beautiful's 2021 Best Home Stores) xN Studio announced the exciting launch of its ten-year anniversary with the Mwanza Collection. Founded in 2011, xN Studio honors the beauty of tradition while introducing the innovation of African style on a global level through home accents and textiles. This same spirit sets the stage for The Mwanza Collection, which highlights classic patterns and designs crafted by skillful artisans in Mwanza, Tanzania. Founder and creative director Nasozi Kakembo designed the line in the United States, while each pattern was brought to life on the shores of Lake Victoria. Each textile is a modern twist on a timeworn, artisan-made tradition.
Kakembo's Ugandan heritage is a driving force behind her desire to bridge the gap between the beauty of East African culture and her American upbringing. “This is a full-circle moment because it's my first time working with artisans in Tanzania, right along the shores of Lake Victoria, which you can see from my home in Uganda,” says Kakembo, who splits her time between the U.S. and Uganda.
“The design motifs are an homage to African modernism—I’ve always been drawn to modern aesthetics, and Mwanza explores them through the lens of batik," Kakembo explains. Batik is a unique process of creating colorful designs on textiles by wax-resist dyeing. This collection merges this practice with design influence from mudcloth and wax prints signature to xN. "All of the pillows are named after the previous collections that inspired them, or quotidian life Uganda and Tanzania," Kakembo explains.
In collaboration with xN Studio's artisan network based in Uganda and Tanzania, the Mwanza Collection's textiles came from West Africa, while the work was exclusively completed with artisans in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. The social impact of this launch is direct and significant as it serves as an essential lifeline for the artisans in countries that don’t have access to formal financial safety nets.
Ethically sourced with a focus on female empowerment, xN Studio earmarks a portion of proceeds to benefit primary education and arts in Uganda. Later in the year, Kakembo hopes to return to Uganda to complete developing products, such as new tabletop and kitchen products, with her artisan partners. Celebrate the special Mwanza Collection by shopping some of our favorite pieces below!
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