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Ethical fashion, handcrafted in Kenya.

CAROLINE FLOHR

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AGE: 24

BIRTHPLACE: HAnnover, Germany

Profession: CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF HABA HABA

My journey in Kenya began in 2014. It would be dishonest of me to say that I didn't have a naive mentality when I first arrived. I think most people do, as that is the narrative we are subjected to by western media. A one-sided narrative about Africa as a one homogenous place full of corruption, dirty slums and dying children. I have chosen to learn from my initial approach instead of continuously giving into it. Instead I have deliberately chosen to lead a different, positive narrative with HABA HABA , one that is colourful and honest, written and guided by the people that the stories are about.

Starting my own fashion brand selling handcrafted jewellery, accessories and clothing from local materials has simply been a matter of my own creative vision, interest and form of expression. Until I turned 18, I never wore black because I didn't consider IT to be a colour. AS I GOT OLDER, I BECAME a little insecure about my body and, as people say, black makes one look slimmer. So I started to hide myself in black clothes and felt more comfortable doing so. I was very intimidated when I arrived in Kenya and discovered the colourful daringness in people’s choice of clothing. Since then, it has become my own personal dare to live a little bolder, dress a little bit more colourful, feel better in my own skin, and bring this vision home.

 

 

 

 

 

From the beginning, HABA HABA has been about creating a business based on creating equal dialogue, sharing ideas and skills with talented people. for me it has always been about the people that HABA HABA works with. I share a close relationship with everyone I work with, which adds to the joy of running this business and helps me understand their individual circumstances.

I find it challenging at times to find the right approach to working in a developing country when looking at the wider development discourse. I have always believed that enabling businesses to flourish through the creation of fair partnerships and equal dialogue is the best way forward to creating an ethical brand. At this point, I must admit that equal dialogue between a privileged European girl and self-employed individuals from a developing country is a priori not equal and something that I am very aware of and reflect about every step of the way.

I want people to hear positive stories about Developing countries. Stories about people that inspire, and stories about fashion that is cultured and different. I want Haba Haba to be a platform for these stories. 

 what better way to tell stories and express yourself than through fashion?