Availability and utilisation of traditional material culture in fashion design
Okeyo, Jacqueline A.
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The diverse cultures of many Kenyan communities may have not been explored adequately when it comes to the utilisation of traditional material culture for Fashion Design. This study sought to explore the availability and utilisation of material culture of some Kenyan communities as a source of inspiration in contemporary Fashion Design. The objectives of the study were to analyze material culture used by Fashion Designers in Nairobi, Kenya and also to identify the challenges facing the Kenyan Fashion Industry in relation to cultural significance. The study was anchored on two theories of fashion: ‘The Language of Cloths' by Lurie (2000) and ‘Power and Style' by Gaulme (2013). The first theory explains that clothing is a form of communication while the second explains the evolution of costume. The conceptual framework illustrates how Contemporary Fashion Design (Dependent Variable) can be inspired by Material Culture (Independent Variables) with the design being influenced by historical and contemporary influences (Intervening Variables). A descriptive research design based on an historical approach was used to provide both quantitative and qualitative data. The secondary data was sourced from The National Museums of Kenya, The National Archives and Institutional Libraries all based in Nairobi. Primary data was collected using questionnaires and face to face interviews. The secondary data gave historical information on the availability and utilisation of Kenyan material culture sourced from different Kenyan communities while primary data gave information on the utilisation of material culture on contemporary Kenyan Fashion. The target population was sourced using stratified and snowball sampling methods. The selected population consisted of College/University students, Formal and informally employed consumers and Fashion Shops/Houses that produce and sell culturally-inspired products. The primary data was analysed using descriptive statistics in three stages: data reduction, data display and conclusion drawing. The findings of this study indicate that material culture, as a source of inspiration, has not been adequately utilised in Kenyan Fashion Design due to a variety of reasons. Therefore the overall recommendation of this study is to sensitize both the Kenyan market and the Fashion Industry on the availability and utilisation of material culture as a source of inspiration for contemporary Kenyan Fashion Design and the Kenyan Fashion Design Industry in general
- MST-Fine Art