The fearless ladies of Umoja, a village within Africa, boldly uses fashion to make a difference in their male-dominated society. These women have proven that fashion can be the beauty behind bravery. They recognize that it continuously evolves, leading others to do the same. People tend to be uncomfortable with the idea of removing themselves from the box of their society’s perspective. However, it is the individuals that find a way out that box that are cemented into history.
Hidden within the Savannahs of Kenya breathes Rebecca Lolosoli, a courageous bead jewelry maker and chairman of Umoja. She is the voice for women that have suffered and survived domestic violence at the hands of men. Sorry, no men allowed in this safe haven! Lolosoli has managed to help women free themselves from the limitations set by the Kenyan society. She teaches them how to make their own glass-beaded pieces so they are able to support themselves. Each piece is as bold as their choice to live fashionably men free. With the traditional Kenyan style in mind, they create vibrant headwear, necklaces, and bracelets. They are the latest trendsetters of Africa and are an inspiration to all women across the globe.
Rebecca Lolosoli has made it known that fashion’s purpose is more than the expensive brands and latest trends. It is limitless and can be used to challenge traditional views yet to be questioned. I have definitely found strength in their stories and contemplate on how I too can
influence perspectives with fashion. The Umoja women were able to adjust the minds of a few men, but many are still outraged by Lolosoli’s influence on countless Kenyan women. Now, these survivors can escape forced marriages, rape, and genital mutilation. Not to mention, prove to Kenyan men that they are capable of surviving in their absence with style.