The Story of Legend and SongFebruary 21, 2014
The Legend and Song collection began with an inkling: what if we were to collaborate with artisans from Africa in a way that showcased and modernized the crafts we have so long admired?
And then, as so often happens at the Home Office, the stars aligned and we took a trip.
We weren’t alone.
With the help of Bhavana World Project, a social enterprise that links stateside companies with East Africa entrepreneurs and USAID, the lead U.S. Government agency developing trade and social programs in Africa, our design and production teams traveled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, making connections with designers, artisan collectives and cooperatives that practice the kind of traditional craftsmanship and of-the-moment aesthetic we so craved. The reality of the trip was far more special than we could’ve imagined; it was a downright magical, lighting-in-a-bottle confluence of collaboration and kismet. Come along with us and see.
We started in the main area of Zanzibar, Stone Townone of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. There is this contrast of Western architecture with African textiles and materials. It’s an amazing dichotomy. ‚ Sebastian B., senior accessories designer
I’ve never seen textiles like this anywhere in the world. All are handwoven on the loom, the gauge is really fine, almost like a soft gauze. The fabric is incredible; the quality is top-notch and they weave bright yarns into it, so it’s really modern. ‚ Sebastian
The design inspiration was Dutch wax prints, so our strategy was to source, purchase and research, then ultimately, meet with the companies and design. Everyone took it so seriously; we returned in September and by the first of October we were concepting. ‚ Llenay Ferretti, founder of Bhavana World Project
I partnered with Sammy in Ethiopia, who works with leather. His niche is lambskin, the softest, most supple leather, which he tie-dyes using a traditional shibori method. ‚ Sebastian
Visiting Rwanda was the most moving part of the trip. It’s amazing to see how far they’ve comeand so fast!from their tragic past. When we arrived at the workshop, the women started singing to us and we were all in tears. It was encouraging to see design making an impact,‚ how excited they were about the work and how it affects their lives. ‚ Sebastian
We collaborated with URU to do an exclusive line, using ethically sourced stones that are traditional to Tanzania to show the diversity of the country’s mining. ‚ Sebastian
The design team of Mille Collines is young and full of energy. I love how they fuse their tailoring expertise with African folklore and tradition. ‚ Sebastian
To discover East Africa is an exhilarating experience; I wanted to introduce Anthropologie to this part of the world. The places and the peopletheir talent, their passion for life, their beautyare the inspiration for Legend and Song, what makes it sing. Llenay
We are delighted to have hosted Anthropologie in East Africa. It is exciting to know that the relationships created here will bring this uniquely African collection to their customer. Finn Holm-Olsen, AGOA Trade Advisor, USAID East Africa Trade Hub