|MUTAMBA - Beautiful Fashion|
Natural fabric, beautiful colours, exciting designs … that’s Mutamba.
Exquisite patterns, gentle pastel hues, soft and lavishly elegant fabric – all designed to caress, cradle and kiss the body in a truly comforting way. This is the uniquely pleasurable experience offered byMutamba Designs.
The origin of the name Mutamba? ‘Muta’ is the shortened form of the name Mutabaruka, her life partner, and ‘Amba’ refers to the colour of her skin. Mutamba’s secret is in the lightness of the fabrics, her first focus. “I only use soft, natural fibres like cotton, linen and silk. I don't use anything synthetic.” In addition, all Mutamba designs are 100% hand-crafted and hand-embellished. The dyes and paints are all natural, and all the prints and patterns are done by hand.
To keep her designs as close to nature as possible, Jackie also does not use zips and rarely uses buttons. “I don't use ammunition on my clothes,” she says. “If I use zips then that means I'm trying to fit someone into a limited space, and that is not comfortable. My clothes are made to fit anyone. You can just drop them on you.”
This naturalness allows her clothes to have what Jackie describes as a 'simple, quiet energy', which makes them sensual. She noted that men often buy her clothes for their women. In explaining how Mutamba started, Jackie recalls trying to maintain the expensive habit of collecting artefacts and fabric from exotic countries, after Belize Airways, where she worked, closed down.
One day she bought some Egyptian cotton and with the help of a visual artist, designed a line of clothes with Egyptian symbols. Mutamba Designs was launched in 2001 and since then has graced local and international runways, and has been a staple for Pulse’s model searches. The clothing has been featured in fashion events in Martinique, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Britain and the United States, and has been consistently featured in the Pulse Caribbean Faces of Summer Model Search Fashion Shows, as well as their Caribbean Fashion Week Shows. “When Pulse’s Jaunel McKenzie was rated in the top 25 models in the world, she was wearing a Mutamba outfit,” Jackie proudly recalls and renowned icons such as Erykah Badu and Maxi Priest have also worn Mutamba.
Jackie recently got her first major order of clothes from a client in the United States. “A tourist saw one of my pieces in a boutique at Negril Tree House. She went in, and inquired about it, and bought 10 out of the 12 pieces that were in the store. She never stopped until she found me in Jamaica and hired me to provide pieces or her store in New Jersey.” In an equally amazing story, another tourist sent a taxi all the way from Montego Bay to Kingston to buy a piece from Mutamba that he saw advertised in a magazine.
Currently seeking a 'resting place', Jackie markets Mutamba at different high profile cultural events such as the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and the Calabash International Literary Festival, and according to demand. “I rove,” she says with a smile, “I'm the official bag lady. I walk around with my clothes in a bag and sell people what I have. Otherwise, I only produce clothes on order.”
Has Mutamba evolved since its launch? According to Jackie “Natural fibres are natural and represent the highest order. How do you evolve from that? I still like nice fabrics, still use nice colours.” With pride in her voice, she adds, “ Mutamba continues to hold on strong, and believes in the beauty and strength of fashion as it compliments the human body.”
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