For this spring, Chicago up-and-comer Kahindo Mateene has fused her African heritage with an urban sensibility.
The result? A bold and sexy collection that shines with bright colors and fun geometric prints. Here’s a cheat sheet on Mateene and what she has to offer us this season with her label, Modahnik:
Background: Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, Mateene moved here when she was 17 to attend college. After being laid off from a corporate job, she decided it was time to pursue a career in fashion. She’s an alum of both the Illinois Institute of Art and the CFI (Chicago Fashion Incubator) program, created by the city and Macy’s to help mentor new local talent. She launched Modahnik in 2009.
Her inspiration: “When I started the line, I really wanted to incorporate my African heritage, but living in the States for 16 years, I also wanted it to be modern and cosmopolitan and sophisticated. So using bright colors and bright prints that I see back home in day-to-day life in the market, that’s what I pull from.”
Who she’s compared to: “Some of my pieces are compared to Alexander McQueen – the matching and really bold colors and prints and blues. A lot of the prints I’m seeing for spring are more understated, but mine are more bold and in your face.”
On one of her prized possessions: “My dream celebrity person to dress is Michelle Obama. I did send her one dress from my spring/summer 2011 [line]. I don’t know if she’s worn it, but I did receive a thank-you note from the White House. I carry it with me everywhere.”
Sizes for spring collection: 2 to 16
Prices: Between $242 and $350
How to buy: Online store launches at the end of March. Until then, have a dress custom ordered: E-mail Modahnik@gmail.com.