Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Chioma Nnadi writes about the Boxing Kitten jumper.
As a frequent wearer of patterns, I can tell you that West African prints get more head-turning, visceral reactions from folks than any other on this Earth. I think most of that has to do with the intensely bright color palette, which is pretty much considered otherworldly on this side of the equator. I've only been to Africa once when I was seven years old, and all the memories are all really present and vivid. Touching down in Lagos for the first time is an entirely sensual experience, by which I mean all five senses are instantaneously engaged—smells at the market place, sweltering midday heat, and the constant hum of crosstown traffic—all life-affirming stuff.
Most of my family live far from the city though, in a small village called Umuduruzubi which is just outside of Owerri, more than a day's journey from the capital. My aunt Bernadette had her own dressmaking business back in those days, so my cousins had a ton of really beautiful custom dresses made from Ankara, the Dutch wax cloth that most people recognize as African fabric. Over the Christmas holidays last year, I found a few of my cousin Caroline's pieces in the closet of my parent's house in London. They are stunning, and luckily fit me just perfectly. Having said that, the styles are still pretty traditional, and lack the real punch and fun that I've been fiending for this summer. Boxing Kitten is a line I've been following for the past few seasons, and I've always admired how they put the most vivid patterns alongside each other. Fellow print devotees will know that combining patterns is super hard to master—it's either a match-made in heaven or a wildly awful combination from hell. This jumper has three prints on the go (no small feat!) and also a flirty sweetheart neckline that I completely love. Of course, if you're not one for tropical shades, then maybe a head-to-toe onesie isn't the way to go. There are Boxing Kitten shoes in the pipeline, courtesy of BK-cobblers Osborn Design, and that splash of color is a good starting point. Since volcanic eruptions threaten to dampen summer temperatures in Europe and the US, staying bright on the outside should help us all feel sunny on the inside too.