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Fashion Machine at Karmakol Festival

Photographer Maganga Mwango  Izy (L) wears jacket by Katungulu Mwendwa and dress by Haute Baso. Bona (R) wears jacket by Katungulu Mwendwa and culottes by Haute Baso

Izy (L) wears jacket by Katungulu Mwendwa and dress by Haute Baso. Bona (R) wears jacket by Katungulu Mwendwa and culottes by Haute Baso

Photographer Maganga Mwango
Photographer Maganga Mwango  Bona (L) wears shirt & bag by Haute Baso, trousers by Nucy and shoes by Walaa. )Izy (R) wears shirt by Boutique De Nana, trousers by Anyango Mpinga and earrings by Ami Doshi Shah

Bona (L) wears shirt & bag by Haute Baso, trousers by Nucy and shoes by Walaa. )Izy (R) wears shirt by Boutique De Nana, trousers by Anyango Mpinga and earrings by Ami Doshi Shah

Photographer Maganga Mwango
Photographer Maganga Mwango  Izy (L) wears full look by Anyango Mpinga, earrings and ring by Ashrenkail, shoes by Walaa. Bona (R) wears top by Nucy, trousers by Anyango Mpinga, bracelet by Ami Doshi Shah

Izy (L) wears full look by Anyango Mpinga, earrings and ring by Ashrenkail, shoes by Walaa. Bona (R) wears top by Nucy, trousers by Anyango Mpinga, bracelet by Ami Doshi Shah

Photographer Maganga Mwango
Photographer Maganga Mwango  Bona wears jacket by Mayada Adil, trousers by Haute Baso

Bona wears jacket by Mayada Adil, trousers by Haute Baso

Photographer Maganga Mwango
Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas  Bona wears Sudan flag toub by Wafaa Basan

Bona wears Sudan flag toub by Wafaa Basan

Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas
Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas Izy wears purple toub by Tiab Habab

Izy wears purple toub by Tiab Habab

Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas
Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas Izy wears brown toub by Walaa Khalil and full denim look by Haute Baso

Izy wears brown toub by Walaa Khalil and full denim look by Haute Baso

Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas
Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas Bona (L) and Izy (R) wear full looks stylist's own

Bona (L) and Izy (R) wear full looks stylist's own

Photographer Maimana Mohammed Abbas

20 February 2018
by Niamh Tuft

Fashion Machine at Karmakol International Festival brought together a group of Sudanese fashion designers and creatives with a team from the UK and Kenya to shoot two fashion editorials in 48 hours. It is part of a series of collaborative image-making projects which aim to connect fashion designers to photographers, stylists and creatives to capture contemporary fashion across the world.

Karmakol International Festival is the first of its kind in Sudan, founded with the aim of showcasing the country’s rich culture. The first edition took place in December in the village of Karmakol, the home of Tayeb Salih - one of Sudan’s most significant literary figures - and brought together musicians, poets, artists, designers and filmmakers for three weeks. 

The fashion shoot took place live over two days of the festival and featured 14 Sudanese designers and a further seven from Kenya and Rwanda. It was driven by British-Sudanese stylist and fashion commentator Basma Khalifa and Kenyan stylist and creative director Sunny Dolat. The first day focused on placing Sudanese designers alongside their East African counterparts and included designers focusing on contemporising their traditional shapes from the jellabiya to the bisht. For example, Nafisa Hafiz of Nucy and Mayada Adil both draw in very different ways from their heritage - Nucy drawing from folk costume and tradition and Mayada Adil linking Nubian ancestry with Afropolitanism and female empowerment. 

The second day focused on the toub, an item of traditional dress unique to Sudan. It remains the go-to choice for important social occasions meaning many designers focus primarily toub. Each garment is unique and often use hand techniques such as Dalia Shumeina's hand painting and Nabila Abubaker's embroidery. Basma’s approach was to show that the toub is a garment that young women in Sudan choose to wear and that it can sit alongside the other items in their wardrobe, from hoodies to trainers. Around 60 per cent of the population of Sudan are under 35 years old and their choice to wear, revive or reinvent traditional dress is an important counterpoint to fears of that these traditions may disappear.

However, the purpose of Fashion Machine at Karmakol International Festival was not only to capture Sudanese contemporary fashion but to build networks between designers and creatives from make-up artists to photographers. Sulaf El Amin, a leading make-up artist in Sudan, commented that Karmakol Festival was a chance to work with and befriend amazing professionals in her field and Nafesa Hafiz emphasised how important the sounding board of photographers, stylists and creatives is to develop herself creatively. So the opportunity to meet, exchange and mull over shared challenges and experiences, while creating beautiful images that everyone could use, was central to the project.

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The Fashion Machine at Karmakol International Festival team was:

Photographers: Maganga Mwango and Maimana Mohammed Abbas 
Stylists: Basma Khalifa and Sunny Dolat
Make Up Artists: Amna Hamdto and Sulaf El Amin

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