Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Fashion | Obakki Collection: 'Preserved In Time' & E-Interview With Fashion Designer Treana Peake

The Obakki Foundation is an amazing non-profit organization that uses fashion as their vehicle for fundraising. Through the help of Obakki Designs, the creative arm that makes all of the products advertised, this company can ensure that an astounding 100% of donations will reach the cause intended. 

Treana Peake, Founder and Creative Director for both Obakki Designs and Obakki Foundation, released the new collection 'Preserved in Time', which will help the people of the cattle camps in South Sudan. The people of South Sudan have a severe lack of water, and have become increasingly hostile in order to fight for hydration for their families and cattle camps. These people have no other choice but to fight, and fears of cultural extinction over this water crisis loom for the last truly preserved society that roam Africa. This tribe has done so alongside their cattle for the past hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Peake intends to use the money raised through her new collection 'Preserved in Time' to install water wells into South Sudan to help dissolve the 80% of internal conflict caused by lack of water. Each well costs approximately $10,000 and will be installed in even the farthest corners of South Sudan in order to reach the camps. 
'Preserved in Time' is an incredible collection that tells the story of the South Sudan Cattle camps right in it's design. A few pieces are shown above; the tank top shows the preservation of the tukul hut, a traditional symbol of the South Sudanese camps. The scarf is a more simple piece, showing a textured design in grey. Other pieces include a colour blocked dress, t-shirts, skinny trousers, and skirts. All designs are created very thoughtfully, including the use of blue to represent the water crisis, as well as collared shirts and dresses to represent the old-fashioned and strong ways of the tribe.

As mentioned above, I did manage to get an E-Interview with Peake, and will leave our conversation below. Please enjoy!

Me: How did you first discover the crisis in South Sudan, and what compelled you to help?
Treana: I've been going to Africa since I was a teenager, so I've been aware of the crisis in South Sudan for a very long time. I've always been compelled to help others - it’s something that came to me from a very early age. In South Sudan specifically, I felt particularly compelled to help because the conflict, ill health and the death toll were largely preventable once the war stopped. I really believed that with the provision of clean water, these communities would be able to get back on their feet and grow in a self-sustainable way. That’s what the Obakki Foundation has been doing, and so far, it’s been such a success that the UN has partnered with us in a conflict region for a pilot project. The project is centered around providing clean water access to nomadic cattle camps that are currently engaging in violent territorial clashes - if this strategy significantly minimizes conflict, we can use the template in other regions of conflict. 

Me: Hearing that these people were in crisis and seeing the crisis itself are two very different things. Was the trip emotionally taxing? If so, how did you deal with it?
Treana: The trips are always emotionally taxing. These communities are often stripped of any semblance of security or safety, and the conditions and situations they deal with are things we can’t even imagine. However, though the trips do take a toll on you emotionally, keeping the big picture and our humanitarian cause constantly in sight helps me work through the difficult moments.  I have learned to take what I see from these regions and turn it into a productive energy to help create change.

Me: Your 'Preserved in Time' collection is very beautiful, and the attention to detail is impressive. Where did you start with the collection, and how long did it take to finish? 
Treana: Our Spring/Summer 2013 collection was inspired by an ancient pastoralist society in South Sudan threatened by a modern world. Modern fabrics and silhouettes layered over traditional prints show an unsettling contrast between two realities. My photographic field images are layered upon 1920’s landscape prints to show the enduring framework of a culture unchanged by centuries. Custom-designed patterns represent the impending destruction of beauty and its consequential loss. Strong collars and detailing pay homage to the strength of South Sudanese tradition, while sheer paneling reflects a dissolving of such by modern time. Within a foundational palette of black and white, blue symbolizes water and is a hopeful reminder of a peaceful solution to be generated through the sale of the collection. 

This concludes our interview! Thanks so much for reading along, and I hope you decide to support this foundation by purchasing a lovely piece of clothing from the Obakki website. Speak with you all later!

Luck & Love,
Kaylee Slater

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