BLACKFLY: Designer clothes and accessories by Ruth Abade. Handmade in Kenya, each item is unique.

MIX & MATCH: African, modern, eclectic designs for the free-spirited open for mixing things up.

RECYCLE: We make beautiful things of discarded scrap. All Blackfly products are wholly or in part made from recycled material.

“I’ve always done art, since second grade. I watched my older brother do cartoon graphics, and the world of art and design sucked me in.”

Black fly

Meet Ruth of Blackfly. Soft-spoken yet authoritative in what she wants and her vision for her brand, Ruth is a true artist. In her workshop along Lagiri rd., we ask her how she manages to be so creative with her design ideas, to which she smiles and says, “Well, the fabric tells me what to do…I can tell whether it will look better as a bag, or a dress or jacket…I just visualise it.”

The brand, which started in 2012, has grown slowly to encompass a myriad of colourful pieces of clothing, as well as bags of all types from small purses to larger tote bags. This organic growth has happened with almost no marketing, relying on word of mouth to prove the age-old Swahili adage, ‘Chema chajiuza…’ (Good sells itself). One thing worthy of note is that all these pieces are ‘one-off’, a uniqueness that offers each customer an individuality they won’t get elsewhere. Oh, and might we add she has begun designing and printing her own fabrics too?

Ruth’s background in industrial design cemented a belief in her that, “…design is meant to solve problems,” and so she ensures each piece she crafts has a purpose and a use beyond just being fashionable. All her products are wholly or in part made from recycled material.  Her structured bags are also crafted to ensure organisation (which woman doesn’t know the struggle of rummaging through their bag?) and practicality for everyday use, while still being so beautiful they are works of art in and of themselves.

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