Maker's Mind
Loza Maleombho's Artistic Integrity

Posted by Jayde Stuckey on

Maker's Mind
Loza Maleombho's Artistic Integrity

as told by — Jordan Slick
photography — Amandla Baraka

If you’re wondering how to wear Loza Maléombho, take a cue from the designer herself. How do you wear the Dida II, an off-the-shoulder crop top with a bronze mask pendant that looks well-suited to a Gouro princess? With jeans and cut-out boots, clearly.

“I went to school for computer animation, and once I graduated I felt that wasn’t what I wanted to do. There was a void in the market for what I wanted to wear; I wanted to wear my identity and I felt that was missing.”

Perfecting the vision — Loza Maléombho gives her models the finishing touches during LFDW

Her designs don’t sit limply, passively: they have a shape and movement of their own. “Somewhere inside I’m still a kid and I like to make things come to life. That’s what really interested me [about animation]. With fashion, you create a complete collection and it’s still something coming to life, it’s a sketch that coming to life in a piece of cloth.”

This year alone, her designs have earned shout-outs from The FADER, Vogue, Madame Figaro, and were featured in Beyonce’s Formation video (in 2016, cultural relevance is measured in proximity to Beyonce).

Although they photograph beautifully, each piece has to be felt and seen up close to appreciate the degree of craftsmanship that went into their construction. “I use traditional fabric that is handwoven - kente for instance from Ghana, or hand-woven cotton from the Ivory Coast- and that alone is a work of art. People have spent hours weaving them. When I come in, all I’m doing is asking how I can add value to this piece of cloth so the customer feels like it’s wearable, it’s functional, and it’s fashion forward. You can’t deny the value and quality that are behind each garment.”

Her life philosophy?

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. I think that’s applicable to everyone. It's calling on creativity: use what you have at hand and create something.”

And if you need inspiration, take a closer look at Loza Maléombho’s SS17 collection. 

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