Maasai Collections was started by Elizabeth Warner, an ex model who was born in New York City and raised in Kenya. Nestled against the edge of the Rift Valley, looking down over the salt lakes of Natron & Magadi, Elizabeth created her first unique pieces under a nearby tree to the lodge. Her African printed kaftans and sarongs with hand beaded ties, beaded wrist cuffs & canvas & leather travel bags are sought after the world over.
1. What made you create Maasai Collections?
I returned to Kenya, where I grew up as a child, after spending my twenties traveling through Europe, modeling and living in Los Angeles. I had returned to work on the creation of a beautiful eco-camp called Shompole, nestled in the rift valley of Kenya. The environment and the people inspired me to partner with the local indigenous Maasai women thus creating Maasai Collections. This deep and magical connection and appreciation I have with these women has moved me to continually support and bring attention to their communities in our ever growing first world.
2. What are the inspirations behind the pieces?
Each piece is always unique and whether they are functional or purely decorative, the design and embellishment always comes from a place of inspiration ? either from my travels into the depths of Africa, most recently the Omo valley and the Kara tribe, or from the daily life of a Maasai woman. When we create a new piece I will sit with the women in my garden and collaboratively try various beading techniques to achieve a look or design; their ideas and recommendations are actually authentic methods that these Maasai women use for their everyday beaded clothing or traditional jewelry.
3. What is your favorite Maasai Collection piece and why?
Our Maasai Shuka wrap is my go to piece from the collection. This sarong is so incredibly versatile and packs so easily into a bag ? I bring it everywhere; the beach, the boat even to my tennis lesson! The bright African printed fabric and the beautiful indigenous beadwork on the ties makes this piece one of a kind.
4. What is next for you and Maasai Collections?
Continuing to work with not only the Kenyan communities, but reaching out to other indigenous cultures which may be suffocated by our ever growing first world, is something that we at Maasai Collections are committed to. Currently, we are looking forward to the upcoming launch of our Resort 2013 collection that reflects the true vibrancy and spirit of Africa!