Kaftan meets Kiribati: custom print from Cyprus meets traditional ornamental beading from Kiribati

Commonwealth Fashion Council

Explore the exchange story of designer Afroditi Hera from Cyprus and artisans The Kiribati Handicraft Association from Kiribati and find out how they created their look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, 2018.

The Exchange: Cyprus x Kiribati
For The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 2018, designer Afroditi Hera exchanged with artisans The Kiribati Handicraft Association to create a look that was inspired by the tradition and culture of both countries. The look was unveiled at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 2018, and later moved to the Australian High Commission, London, where it was open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.
Cyprus: Designer Afroditi Hera
Launching her Afroditi Hera label in 2001, Afroditi uses fashion to showcase her love of prints, weaves and colour. To this end, her designs are timelessly classic, loved across the world for bold yet classical patterns on shimmering sheaths of silk. Also commissioned to create heavenly wedding dresses of more traditional designs, she is best-known for the simplicity of her kaftans juxtaposed with the complexity of her colour palettes. 
Kiribati: Artisans The Kiribati Handicraft Association
Made up of 33 atolls and reefs including Christmas Island, in the central Pacific, Kiribati is dispersed across 1.3 million square miles. The indigenous handicrafts of the Pacific are manifold, with Kiribati specializing in ornamental beadwork and grass-weaving. The association is part of a larger group of artisans working out of the region, known as Pacific Artisans, who are all working to increase women’s economic standing through preserving traditional crafts, and giving them an international platform. 
The story behind the look
Afroditi Hera designed her signature kaftan in printed chiffon of her own design, which can be worn in various ways.

Illustration of the dress

Signature Pattern

Afroditi Hera's signature kaftan was created with blue silk and printed chiffon of her own design.

Through the use of buttons the look can be worn in three different ways.

Traditional Embellishments

The look was completed with traditional ornamental beading created by artisans in Kiribati using grass, paper and shells.

Final look on display at Buckingham Palace, 19 February 2018

Final look on display at the Australian High Commission, London, 22 February 2018

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at http://eco-age.com/commonwealth-fashion-exchange/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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