Social Impact in Kenya

The Fouché collection is hand carved by skilled artisans in Nairobi, Kenya. These artisans specialise in carving from locally sourced wood, horn or bone. We work with many artisans in Kibera, Africa's largest slum, situated in Nairobi and use natural materials such as ankole cow horn, a beautifully tactile material that is a by-product of the local meat industry.  

We ensure a fair and sustainable income for the artisanal community and thank you for your purchase from the Fouché collection.

 

 

 

Maisha Charity - Meet the Students

Maisha (meaning 'life' in Swahili) is a grass roots charity I co-founded in 2012 that provides opportunities in vocational skills training that no other local charity or NGO is focused on. 

It is the highlight of my jewellery production trips to Nairobi to check in with our students for the Maisha Foundation

This bright bunch of young 21 year olds are so dedicated to their studies and full of energy that it's humbling to remember their struggle as children from Kibera, Africa's largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya. 

I spent the day with our pragmatic student manager, Japheth Okoth, visiting students on two campuses where Maisha pays for their diploma and accommodation on site. 

Our first student I visited was Calvince, studying Electrical Engineering. He shares his digs with boys of the same age and proudly showed me the thick volume text books stacked by his bedside. He has just finished an internship as an industrial attachment with a Telecoms company and plans to become a self employed Telecom Technician on finishing his diploma. 

 

Next, we visited David, our Fashion Design student. David has not only achieved the highest grade in his first year of studies but was also voted best upcoming designer. He has successfully completed his first paid internship with a local leather ware brand and will finish with an internationally recognised diploma. He studies by day and works by oil lamp by night on orders for friends and family. David also gives back to his community, conducting motivational seminars with groups of young people in Kibera and has even taught his mother how to sew.

Help us to continue investing in a new generation of enterprising and talented people by donating HERE or donating any second hand laptops or cameras that you no longer need.

Our Story

Within Africa's largest slum there are thriving communities of people running small businesses and engaged with jobs in the greater Nairobi area. Kibera is very impoverished but its people have an incredible work ethic, outlook on life and above all nothing is wasted. Anything that can be reused or recycled or a given opportunity is taken in order to develop. It is a slum of over 1 million people but dwellers pay rent to the government and continue to live and work against all odds. 

We first started our Maisha charity after spending a lot of time within a specific community of Kibera. We were directing an art based project called 'Life in Kibera' in 2010 with funding from the Soho House Group.  The art work created by leading international artists was sold to raise funds for a school in Kibera and it was during this time that we met so many young and ambitious adolescents who were not academic but talented with music, engineering, and so on. 

Since 2012 we have been investing in these extraordinary young people in their pursuit of furthering their education in order to find a job or sustainable self-employment. With the help of our student manager Japheth Okoth we offer mentorship and on-campus accommodation as well as guided internship programmes. 

This is a grass roots charity and all donations go towards backing new students.

 

Dream in Green

One of my favourite clients is interior designer Beata Heuman. She has a playfulness with colour and textures combined with a deep knowledge of design. I love her 'Marbleised' design - applied to wallpaper and velvet, inspired by ancient Venetian paper. I snapped her with my polaroid camera at her Chelsea studio on Friday, adorned in her Fouché Vita Earrings. www.beataheuman.com

 

 

Journey to Japan - 5 'Japonisms'

Five inspiring 'Japonisms' from our honeymoon in Japan 

Jap·o·nism

(jăp′ə-nĭz′əm) | Something characteristically JapaneseThe influence of Japan on European art

1. Jet lag in Tokyo - 4am start at the Tsukiji fish market is well worth it - followed by a sushi breakfast! 

 

2. Visit to Princess Asaka's Art Deco Palace - Teien Art Museum, East Tokyo

 

3. Drink Nikka Whisky with the locals - Golden Gai, Shinjuku, Tokyo

4. Ride the subway in Kyoto

5. Harmonise at the Kennin-ji Zen Buddhist temple near Gion, Kyoto 

'My Africa' interview for Elle Italia

1) Why Africa? What do you love most of this country? 

 I grew up between South Africa and England and first travelled to Kenya after university in Cape Town. I travelled along the East African coast with a friend on 'matatus' (small local minibuses) and then to Nairobi on the overnight train from Mombassa. Nairobi is a vast city of creative and highly skilled crafts people and I fell in love with the Kenyan culture and lifestyle.

2) Describe your creations in 3 words?         

artisanal, sculptural & statement

3) Which materials do you use for your creations? 

We use natural locally sourced materials such as wood and cow horn that is a by-product of the local meat industry. The fine finishing is done by hand in London using precious metals such as solid silver and set with coloured gemstones sourced from conflict-free mines around Africa.

 4) What inspires you with your creations? 

The design of Fouché jewellery has an Art Déco style that is inspired by the Futurist and Art Déco buildings created by Italian architects in Africa in the 1930s. I love the modernity and sculptural shapes of Art Déco that complement the hand carved jewels in Fouché collections. My new designs combine enamel and cow horn and take inspiration from the paintings of Sonia Delaunay and early Cubist works of Picasso.

 5) Fashion can be ethical. What do you do in this sense? Do you support African communities?

We create jewellery using materials that are sourced from ethical partners and offer fair-trade and sustainable employment to artisan groups across Nairobi and Kibera, Africa's largest slum.

Star Child - Maisha Foundation

David - @Star Child Avido on social media - as styled by himself with friend.

After leaving Fabergé in 2012 I co-founded the Maisha Foundation with Kathleen Hartigan. We had spent many years working on the ground in Kibera for our project 'Life in Kibera' that portrayed the life of people of the slum through photographs and paintings. The artwork was sold in London to raise funds for a local school in Kibera.  We met so many people during this time, documenting their stories and directing workshops at the school to teach children basic photography and drawing with the LIK artists. We also met so many talented and creative adolescents lacking opportunities to develop their skills and so it was at this time that we decided to start Maisha - meaning 'life' in Swahili.

Maisha is a grass-roots charity and all donations go directly to our cause. Every year we host an open interview day at the office of the MP for Kibera and take on as many of the strongest candidates as we can. This is where we met David for the first time 2 years ago. David is our first fashion design student and is now enrolled at the Bururburu Institute of Fine Arts in Nairobi. Maisha has allowed him to hone his skills in fashion and design as well as providing mentorship with our manager Japheth Okoth. We are now a team of four, with Nicholas Higgins acting as treasurer, and have doubled our intake of students over the past 12 months. The Maisha film below was shot in 2014 in Kibera -

'I am not a product of my circumstances...I am a product of my decisions' - David

David designs and creates all clothing himself from old fabrics and vintage clothes - styling his friends and classmates and sharing his passion for creativity amongst his community. 

donate here - or follow us on Facebook & Instagram

African Archipelago - Lamu Island

An old door hand crafted by local Swahili artisans or 'Fundi' - the magic of ancient cultures from Arab, Swahili to Colonial all draw together in an eclectic fusion of 1000 years of history. 

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Wearing Nuba Cuff & Irga Déco Earrings - photograph by Francesco Pasti aka 'Saint Francesco'

St Francesco devouring his book 'The Hare with Amber Eyes' in the courtyard at Peponi Hotel

'West with the Night' by Beryl Markham - 'a bloody wonderful book' as said by Ernest Hemingway! 

The traveller, mystic and aristocrat congregate on the verandah at the Peponi hotel to watch the African sun sink into the sea.  

African sunset over Manda Island

Returning to an exciting feature in this month's Vogue Brazil....

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Bowie's Girl

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Cameo Cuff & Necklace with Nuba Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York

Christina wearing Diana Cuff with Irga Déco Earrings. Photo by Eftihia Stefanidi, New York