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Sneak Peek: Fiddleheads, Flamingos and Florals, Oh My!

It's sampling time! We've been working with several very talented textile designers to develop prints that we hope will bring joy, whimsy and color to your life.  Each one of these beauties will be part of our 100% Made in Kenya textile line, using cotton that is grown, spun, woven, and printed right here in Kenya. Shown below are designs by the fabulously talented Lulu Kitololo, Shadé Akanbi and Phathu Nembilwi. We can't wait for you to see the final product and hear the inspiration behind these gorgeous, wearable works of art! 

WHAT WE'RE READING// Lot by Bryan Washington

“Your eyes will show you what they want to, or whatever they think you should see.”

An insight into love in all of its forms, this is a collection of short stories written in a vibrant, conversational style has been compared to that of Junot Díaz. Set in Houston, these stories (many of which are interlinked and some of which are not) explore themes of bravery, adversity and heartbreak through the eyes of a young, gay BIPOC man.

 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @quokkahub

On brand? Nope. Weirdly adorable? Yes. Devoted entirely to an Australian quokka named Daxon and the greater short-tailed wallaby community of Instagram, this may just be the last bastion of goodness and truth coursing through these hallowed interwebs. Also, it's practically Valentine's Day; let's indulge ourselves with a little extra cuteness, shan't we?

 

 

 

BUSINESSES WE LOVE // Bolé Road Textiles

Originally from Addis Ababa, Brooklyn-based designer Hana Getachew has a fabulous aesthetic that we think you'll really love!  Whether you're looking for a stand-out rug or an eye-catching cushion cover, her textiles will bring joy and happiness into your home. (I have her Bana Rugs beside my bed in Nairobi, and trust me--I'm a happier person because of them!)

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // ZURI FEBRUARY PLAYLIST -- LOVE SONGS!

To our nearest and dearest (however far it may seem), we made you a playlist with a Valentine's theme! We hope you'll enjoy this group of love songs which we've been listening to all day long.  Share it, send it or save it for later, we hope that it'll make your day a bit greater:) 

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Meet the Team Who Makes Our Masks!

Fun fact: when Sandra and I first met, she had a bakery! She made the most DELICIOUS cassava flour chocolate cookies, and given just how delicious they were, it was not altogether inconvenient that she happened to be located next to a tailoring shop which could produce the flattering yet loose-fitting dresses we've all come to love!

It turns out that this tailoring shop would be not only one of the best in Nairobi, but that it would be run a truly inspiring woman. When we started Zuri, Flo helped us produce our first collection of dresses, and has produced ALL of the thousands of masks that you've bought this past year. This has kept her shop literally buzzing with production during an otherwise tough year, and we feel VERY lucky to bee 🐝 in this queen's hive!  

We truly want to thank you all for your support through your mask purchases, which have kept Flo's staff rocking and rolling, and have allowed us to donate more than $42,300 to Give Directly's Kenya Covid-19 Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Voter Participation Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and more than 15,000 masks donated to Penda Health and Jacaranda Health in Nairobi.  

We hope that you've been loving them as much as we do, and that they'll bring both joy and color to your world! (P.S. Tushone means "Let's stitch" in Kiswahili!)

ARTIST CORNER // MAINA BONIFACE

Restricted Area II, 2020

Acrylic on Papr19 7/10 × 25 2/5 in50 × 64.5 cm

Waiting, Watching and Wishing series.

Maina Boniface has blown us away with his latest 2020 series, aptly entitled: "Waiting, Watching, and Wishing". In these works, Maina reflects on the voluntary and involuntary changes to everyday life brought about by events of this surreal year.  The series is mostly sold out, but you can still find five paintings available through Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, here!

INSTA CORNER // WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @HILLHOUSEVINTAGE

If you like English country interiors, nostalgic fireside vignettes, and the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven *(not necessarily YOUR oven, but AN oven), hop on to the @hillhousevintage feed and cozy up to a bucolic world that exists in Paula Sutton's Instagram reality, even if nowhere else.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Hey Ya! By Outkast

We're throwing it back to 2003 because this song is a timeless classic, just like the man who wrote it. Now, pop quiz: What's cooler than being cool?

A) When you have to get out of bed and your slippies are all the way across the room.

B) Wearing sunglasses inside. 

C) Ice cold.

You guys, it's C).

WHAT WE'RE READING // Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

It's rare that I pick up a book and finish it in one day, but on Saturday, when I started this novel, I found that I could NOT put it down. Set in Pune, India, this gorgeously told story is about betrayal between a once reckless, irreverent mother and the adult daughter who now must care for her as she both convalesces and loses her memory of the things she has done.

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SNEAK PEEK! 👀 // NEW PRINTS IN THE WORKS!

We've been having SO MUCH FUN working with several very talented textile designers over the last few months to develop designs we think you'll really fall for. Each one of these beauties will be part of our 100% Made in Kenya textile line, using cotton that is grown, spun, woven, and printed all right here in Kenya. Production this localized is both rare and special, as it allows us to tell our story from beginning to end. What we especially love about these fabrics is the intimacy we have with the origin of the designs, and the fact that the women who created them will be able to share the inspiration and significance of each directly with you! This year you'll be meeting artists Shadé Akanbi, Angela Muritu, Jo Kalute, Phathu Nembilwi, and Lulu Kitololo. We can't wait for you to see their final work, and hear their thoughts about these functional, wearable works of art! 

And now, a bit about the PROCESS!

VOTE in Zuri // GEORGIA!

Today is Runoff Election Day in Georgia for two Senate seats that will determine the scope of Congress's work over the next four years so it couldn't be a more important day to VOTE! If you are a Georgia voter, follow these steps for a 10% off code on any upcoming order!

1) Throw on your favorite Zuri.
2) VOTE!
3) Take a selfie of yourself at the polls, with your ballot or with an "I VOTED" sticker on your dress.
4) Post the pic on Instagram + tag @zurikenya, send us a DM or email us a pic!
5) Check your Instagram DMs or email for a code for 10% off any purchase!

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @ACCRAPHOTO

A creative and a photojournalist living in Accra, Ghana, Francis Kokoroko takes the most whimsical and beautiful pictures, with an eye toward documenting the ever-evolving cultures and everyday life of people on the African continent. An intimate and relatable glimpse into the lives of others, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll love.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Lianne La Havas

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Lianne La Havas deserves all the accolades she's been getting lately. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Greek father, her sound is a mostly acoustic hybrid of funk and soul, inspired by Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill.  (Oh, and did I mention that she performed a fabulous Tiny Desk Concert for NPR?)

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

If you haven't read Jacqueline Woodson's recent novel, Red at the Bone, we can't recommend it enough! Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of families, and in the life of the new child. This story is told so beautifully, her writing has been compared to the legendary Toni Morrison; we couldn't agree more.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO //The Power Is Out, with Ngofeen Mputubwele

I recently heard WNYC podcast journalist Ngofeen Mputubwele interviewed by Gregory Warner in his Rough Translation episode, "We Don't Say That".  As one of the only Congolese families within a hundred miles of his childhood home in West Tennessee, Mputubwele found that storytelling was a way for him to relate to the world around him, and to help others do the same. Listen to his portraits told through story on The Power is Out.  

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Last batiks of 2020!

It's such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Edwina and her team in Accra, Ghana, to develop these fabrics, and we're thrilled to share these new prints with you!

In the photos above, you can see the wax designs for Confetti and Valencia. Starting with plain white cotton fabric, wax is applied using a stamp to create these designs. Once the wax dries, the fabric is soaked in a dye bath for its first layer of color. Both of these prints go through multiple separate dye baths, for Dashing, the first is red and after wax is removed and another wax pattern is added, it goes into a dye bath for orange and then pink. For Valencia, the first is to dye the pink and the second is to dye the orange!

Here you can see Operabea preparing the Valencia fabric for its wax removal. It's already been dyed pink, and now the wax will be warmed and removed before going into an orange dye bath!

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Daby Touré

Born in Maruitania and raised in Senegal, Daby Touré's music combines traditional African and western folk music with influences of jazz, reggae and soul. This is one of our favorite albums, particularly the 4th track "Yaw", which feels tender and ethereal but powerful all at the same time. We hope you'll love it as much as we do!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // THE EL PASO EXPERIMENT A Public Defender’s Lonely Fight Against Family Separation by Melissa del Bosque

This deeply researched story traces one of the earliest cases brought to court to fight against the government's zero tolerance border family separation policy. While maddening and painful to read, I can't recommend this piece enough if you're interested in understanding how this policy was implemented and how one lawyer tried to fight it.

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Jordan Casteel at the New Museum - Virtual Tour

We're super excited about this show at the New Museum of Jordan Casteel's work, and while we're not able to visit in person, this virtual tour, narrated by the artist, is incredible! Join us for a visit to the museum :)

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NEW BATIKS ARE HERE! 💓// (So is Our Fall Playlist!) 🎵

Batiks are BACK!

They're finally here! We're so excited to present our latest collection of hand-dyed batiks from Edwina and her collective in Accra, Ghana. We started working on these at the beginning of the year, and after pausing for a few months and reconfiguring for increased safety measures, Edwina and her team resumed work in mid-summer and we couldn't be more excited to finally share these beautiful textiles with you!

Meet Sarah! She was the main dyer for the Effervescence print, and we thought we'd share a bit of her process! To start, she dyes plain white cotton fabric pink, which will be the base color for the design. She then applies the design with melted wax, and after it dries, it goes into a red dye bath for the second color. Finally, the fabric is soaked in hot water to melt the wax and it's taken outside to dry in the breezy sunshine!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Out There, Nobody Can Hear You Scream by Latria Graham

With the pandemic leaving many of us indoors dreaming of the outdoors, this essay by Latria Graham is a reminder of the privilege of experiencing nature and its beauty without fear or risk. Composed as a letter to Black women who have reached out to her wanting advice on navigating the risks of being Black in the outdoors, she writes about her own experiences balancing a sobering reality and hope, "But there is one thing I can continue to do: let you know that you are not alone in doing this big, monumental thing."

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // ZURI FALL PLAYLIST

Hark! We made a new playlist! We've put together a fabulous collection of songs by contemporary female artists we love, with beats that are strong, rhythmic and smooth. Throw it on one Sunday afternoon (or even tonight while making dinner)! We hope you'll love what you hear.

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