CITY TO SAHARA
Behind the inspiration of the exclusive capsule collection of
Printed Pattern People x majestic disorder for Restival
Written By Kelley Mullarkey
For the past several months we have been working around the clock in preparation for the inaugural launch of Restival in Morocco this November, which majestic disorder is co-launching and co-hosting.
A visionary experience, Restival is a unique fusion of retreat and festival sparked by the desire to truly switch off, re-connect and discover that your true creativity lies within.
Wanting to bring to life this energy in the form of nomadic wares, we collaborated with ethical textile label Printed Pattern People (PPP) on an artisanal collection of turbans, kaftans, woven bracelets and totes made with love in NYC.
Inspired by the otherworldly atmosphere of the Sahara, the Printed Pattern People x majestic disorder for Restival capsule collection is a tribute and celebration of discovery, diversity and all things nomadic.
We speak with the collection’s design creatives Shadé Akanbi and Vanessa Coore about their inspirations, travel journeys, love of prints and why designing for Restival is a natural fit.
You’ve both traveled all around the world, from Guatemala to Indonesia. Describe how traveling became an integral part of your life and its impact on your creativity and everlasting entrepreneurial spirit.
Growing up Nigerian-American, I was first introduced to globe-trotting through my father who as an industrial engineer that traveled internationally for work throughout the year. Upon his return, he would bless us with mini flags, foreign currency and other small gifts from far away lands.
After every Christmas, he would also go home to visit his mother, my uncle and my cousins. He would return two weeks later in the new year with local Nigerian snacks, jewelry, artwork and of course beautiful textiles. I was 13 years old when I took my very first plane ride ever, and ventured on a 17-hour trip for a month-long stay in Lagos to visit my family and see with my own eyes this far away land I had only viewed in pictures.
I was introduced to so many unknown variables during that time, and even though I was with my family, I remember often feeling a bit intimidated and overwhelmed with all the newness. It was in those little moments of fear though, where I found and nurtured my own voice to just go for it. I realized that by stepping out of your comfort zone, in faith and with purpose, comes reward. In my opinion, the same can be said about being an entrepreneur.
That trip was a definitive life moment for a number of reasons. Not only did it unearth the voyager in me from a very young age, but by being exposed to a plethora of multicultural people, places, patterns and prints, I have grown to embrace and emit these very same principles of diversity in my fashion practices today.
Travel first came into my life when I was young. Growing up in California, especially the Bay Area, I was introduced to such a diverse mix of people. You are constantly immersed in different foods, different beliefs, different smells, different dress and different languages.
My best friends were from Peru, El Salvador, West Africa and so on, so I was constantly learning something new. As I grew up I never lost that need for diversity. From London, to Honduras, to Guatemala each place holds such different energy, such a different spirit, and exploration has become such a vital part of my being.
I believe the very core of travel is not about passports or planes; it’s about opening your eyes to what is happening all around you, know matter where you are.
Elaborate upon the foundation of Printed Pattern People, our favorite purveyor of all things big and bold.
The background of the name Printed Pattern People came from my love of the global creative community. Since PPP pulls inspiration from all over the world, I felt the name should encompass that tribe of artisans that contribute from near and far. Bold design and bold patterns are so powerful; the name lets you know exactly what you’re going to get.
My travels have fortified my love for mixing and matching prints and allowed me to see the cross-pollination of cultures. From Nigeria to Panama, India to Thailand and Indonesia, which are just a few countries that have really enlightened my creative and design senses upon visiting, I continue to see how textiles and handmade materials connect points between different cultures. My love of textiles is the basis of Printed Pattern People. Bringing them together within the brand feels more natural than anything. When I meet other makers around the world, I repeatedly encounter this reverberating truth that we are more alike than we are different. PPP is telling this story.
What are the ethos and identity behind the design process for this particular collection?
To me great design comes from multiple places. When you’re able to pull all of your inspiration into a singular vision, it’s amazing. I always think about the person we’re designing for, the wanderess, because she has no set destination, belongs to no city or no place. It allows you to tell of her journey though a very well curated selection of pieces that she would collect along the way.
Transparency is a constant battle within the fashion and design industries. For the PPP x majestic disorder for Restival collection, each piece is handmade with love in NYC.
We started off with visions of the sun setting over the Sahara and from there I created the mood boards and palette. I sketched initial shapes, collected swatches, darted to fabric stores all over NYC and then back and forth to the factory where PPP is made. This is also where my stash of fabrics and trims collected from my travels comes in handy. These bits of culture make their entrances into the collection in little details, taking the entire story to another level.
However, as in with this collection, there are many detail-oriented decisions like creating my own textiles or hand-embellishing hundreds of Swarovski crystals onto an already ornate material to elevate it to where my vision is for each piece. Although I believe that more is more, editing is a huge part of my process also. I work on them until I feel they are done — no more, no less.
This collection includes some really special handmade materials including tie-dyed cotton gauze (turbans), vintage embroidered canvas (the cape coats), woven linens and patterned silks (the tunic and jumpsuits). There is one particular textile that I am extremely fond of in this collection and it’s the medium weight woven striped linen that I have hand-embellished with this mixed multicolor fringe trim on every 7th black stripe.
I applied this technique after the garment is cut and before it’s sewn. There is also an alternating frayed striped raw-edge on the hem and the pocket entries that give another graphic element to the garment. This is to get a glimpse of the process that not only went into this piece, but every single garment in this collection.
We just wanted to make sure to stay true to the handmade, artisanal aesthetic that we spoke about initially, and not just say it. We want everything to be exclusive and special and I really think that shows as the pieces came together.
Tell me a bit about your individual backgrounds how you both came to working together.
I’ve always been in the realm of fashion since high school and ended up getting my degree from FIDM in Fashion Merchandise Marketing. I’ve had various jobs from licensing design, to product development, to visual styling. Shade and I came together initially through Instagram. At the time I was designing capes for PPP and she ended up buying one. Shade was about to launch her own collection and asked what a good “sister” name to PPP would be. I told her I wasn’t designing the capes anymore and she could have the name. We wanted to work with each other because we have such a similar spirit and passion.
I chose interior design as my starting point, which was my concentration at Spelman College in Atlanta under the Studio Art Program. From there, after post-grad travels to the Caribbean and living in Japan for a year and a half, I studied Accessory Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Since graduating from FIT in 2010, I have been working in the industry as a handbag designer, which has helped me hone my own voice in fashion. I used surface pattern design to integrate my personal aesthetic into my professional work, around which time Printed Pattern People was born.
What’s one thing you hope everyone takes away from the experience at Restival?
A renewed sense of self. I hope everyone can walk away feeling more in touch with their spirit and who they are at their very core. I hope we enter back into the digital world with a new sense of balance and creativity.
Since Restival is a time for us to disconnect from our digital world and connect with other creatives, I hope everyone there (myself included) can truly leave the weight of those negative things that flood our thoughts and affect our bodies and souls, right there in the Sahara, so that we can take away …nothing! Meaning I hope to we can empty our worries and cares there, and leave with a new and refreshed vessel, opened and ready for all the blessings in store for the new year.
The Printed Pattern People x majestic disorder for Restival is available to shop online HERE.