Katungulu’s approach to design can be described as a curious sceptic’s review of the perceptions of Kenyan, African and female identity.
The influences and experiences of Katungulu Mwendwa’s upbringing primed her for a career in design.
Nurtured within the creative ambiance of a bass-playing architect father and a plant-loving psychologist mother, Katungulu Mwendwa’s path to a creative career was not only inevitable but celebrated. Early days spent amid the treasures of her grandmother’s curio shop ignited her curiosity, especially towards the intricate handiwork of Akamba artisans that adorned the shelves. Years later, her pursuit led her to the Unit-
ed Kingdom, where she embarked on a transformative journey, earning her BA in Fashion Design from the University of Creative Arts. This period of her life sharpened her design acumen and kindled the dream of establishing her own fashion line.
Driven by a yearning for her Kenyan roots and inspired by the nation’s artisans, she returned home to Kenya, igniting the birth of her brand, Katush. Fuelled by un-ending curiosity and a commitment to meld innovation and tradition, Katungulu embarked on a creative odyssey that harmoniously interweaves history, culture, and perceptions into each meticulously crafted collection. Collaborating hand-in-hand with visionary
Her journey is an investigation—an exploration into the core of human perception within history and culture, meticulously unravelling how these perceptions resonate in the contemporary world. Every Katush collection begins with this enquiring spirit, and it is within the process that the essence thrives—collaborating with a community of skilled artisans, each collection breathes vitality into traditional craftsmanship by honouring the individuals behind the craft. Rooted in environmental consciousness, empathy for humanity, and a profound reverence for Africa’s opulent heritage, Katungulu’s insatiable curiosity reframes entrenched notions of African and feminine identities.
Katungulu is an inspiring and challenging voice for African fashion on the global stage, whose point of view has been published in Vogue US, Vogue Italia, Okay Africa, Forbes Africa, CNN, Business of Fashion and more.
Her approach to design can be described as a curious sceptic’s review of the perceptions of Kenyan, African and female identity, and how resulting definitions, often imposed instead of self-defined, attempt to ringfence creative expression. Her insight into culture, current and traditional, leads the way. Past collections have taken cues from the Dinka corsetry practices of South Sudan and the elaborate cultural dress of the Wodaabe subculture of North Africa’s Fulani people, reimagining their defining principles in the contemporary context. This compelling point of view has won fans across the globe.
Katush has been sought out for presentations all over the world — highlights include Paris, New York, Portugal, Lagos and Mozambique Fashion Week. More recently, the brand has was selected as one of three businesses invited to join the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Kenya Accelerator Program together with exhibiting its work at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in the Africa Fashion exhibition and now the Brooklyn Museum in New York.