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.
Born to a bass-playing architect and a plant-loving psychologist, she spent school holidays in her grandmother’s curio shop in Nairobi, where she first became familiar with artisan collectives like eastern Kenya’s Akamba group, suppliers of some of the store’s unique trinkets at the time. That early personal exposure to the alchemy of cultural art & craft and analytical rigour led her to a BA in Fashion and Design from the University for the Creative Arts in the UK. It also led her back home to set up her own contemporary fashion studio, Katush.
Katush is an everyday superhero — a conscious and compassionate leisure lifestyle brand made in Africa for the confident, reflective, self-aware global citizen who values quality, versatility and sustainability in original design.
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 Southern 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 tradeshows all over the world — highlights include Origin Africa and Coterie in the USA, Addis Ababa’s Hub of Africa and Mozambique Fashion Week. More recently, the brand was selected as one of five winners in the Lagos Fashion Week Fashion Focus program, and one of three businesses invited to join the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Kenya accelerator.