Dress thumbnail 1
Dress thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Dress

2021
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The dress has a high, round-neck fitted bodice made from printed cotton kitenge cloth. The skirt, waist flounce and neck flounce are made from khanga, with the inscription in Swahili ‘Nakupenda kwa matendo yako’, which translates as ‘I love you for your deeds’. The details of the khanga’s manufacturer and design number are incorporated into the design and can be seen along the hem of the dress’s skirt (see below). The dress’s short sleeves are made from cloth intended for use as a gèlè, or headwrap. The stiffness of the fabric, which is woven with a design in lurex, enables the sleeves to puff out and create volume at the shoulder. The dress is lined with a plain unbleached muslin and has a concealed zip fastening at the back. The dress is accompanied by a rectangle of voided velvet (devoré) in black and brown, worn as a headwrap.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Dress
  • Headwrap
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Dress of printed cotton khanga and kitenge and cotton and lurex with headwrap of devoré velvet, designed by Joice Makokha Simiyu and made by Carol Achieng, Nairobi, Kenya, 2021
Physical description
The dress has a high, round-neck fitted bodice made from printed cotton kitenge cloth. The skirt, waist flounce and neck flounce are made from khanga, with the inscription in Swahili ‘Nakupenda kwa matendo yako’, which translates as ‘I love you for your deeds’. The details of the khanga’s manufacturer and design number are incorporated into the design and can be seen along the hem of the dress’s skirt (see below). The dress’s short sleeves are made from cloth intended for use as a gèlè, or headwrap. The stiffness of the fabric, which is woven with a design in lurex, enables the sleeves to puff out and create volume at the shoulder. The dress is lined with a plain unbleached muslin and has a concealed zip fastening at the back. The dress is accompanied by a rectangle of voided velvet (devoré) in black and brown, worn as a headwrap.
Dimensions
  • Chest circumference: 120cm (Note: Internal Measurement. Measured by Textile Conservation. )
  • Waist circumference: 94cm (Note: Internal Measurement. Measured by Textile Conservation. )
  • Cross back width: 48cm (Note: External Measurement. Measured by Textile Conservation. )
  • Nape to waist length: 39.5cm (Note: External Measurement. Measured by Textile Conservation. )
  • Nape to hem length: 144cm (Note: External Measurement. Measured by Textile Conservation. )
Production typeUnique
Gallery label
Simiyu commissioned this dress from Achieng, her local tailor in Kibera, Nairobi. The dress combines several fabrics: khanga from the shop Mali Ya Abdulla in Mombasa (skirt), kitenge bought in Nairobi (bodice), and stiffened gèlè cloth (sleeves). Simiyu designed the dress herself to wear at the weekend. The phrase on the khanga reads: ‘I love you for your deeds’. V&A, Room 40, Africa Fashion (02/07/2022 - 16/04/2023)
Object history
This dress was made in the Kibera district of Nairobi, Kenya, by the tailor and dressmaker Carol Achieng. The dress was commissioned by Joice Makokha Simiyu.
Collection
Accession number
T.38:1-2022

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Record createdDecember 10, 2021
Record URL
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