Chichia London

... Chichia’s intelligent use of eye-catching colourful prints in natural fabrics intermixed with beautiful embellishments and intricate detailing makes every piece uniquely innovative and a timeless addition to anyone’s wardrobe.

London-based designer Christine Mhando graduated from Kent University with an honours degree, in 2002. After her studies, Mhando gained invaluable experience working for high-end designers as well as womenswear brands and suppliers for the high-street Mecca. With the knowledge she acquired, Tanzanian-born Mhando launched the label that bears her childhood nickname, Chichia in 2007. The Chichia ready to wear range is an imagination of both continents and cultures from which the designer was raised. The label’s signature transpires from the artful application of the “Khanga”, a traditional east African cotton printed fabric used by local women as wraps. The first Chichia collection was sold in London’s famous home of independent designers Laden Showroom quickly earning the label commercial success. Each collection consists of an eclectic range of dresses and separates in modern wearable silhouettes and styles in a variety of succulent colours. Currently stocked in boutiques throughout the UK and online, Chichia’s extensive press attention in distinguished magazines and independent newspapers have warranted the label a place on the London Fashion Week circuit showcasing in fashion events such as Untold and Fashion Diversity. Exhibiting at Swahili Fashion week in 2009 and 2010 consecutively, ARISE Magazine Fashion Week and winning the Ethical Fashion Forum Innovation Award in 2011, Chichia has been recognised as an international African brand that modernises and transforms traditional illustrative East African textiles into stylish and considered fashionable attire.

Nothing inspires me like…
An amazing textile. A great print, texture or colour story is usually my best source of ideas.

I hope...
That those women out there wearing my clothes are as inspired when wearing them as I was creating them

Cultural influences…
Are necessary! Being from Tanzania and living in London for over two thirds of my life, I have grown up not really fitting in but the older I got the more I celebrated that I am fortunate enough to experience two such opposite cultures.

I got where I am...
So far by believing in what I do, working relentlessly, taking chances, trusting my instinct, being at the right place at the right time, having great support around me and at times through sheer luck!

Fashion can sometimes...
Be contradictory. It can be art but also tasteless inspiring, tell great stories, be taken too seriously, not be taken seriously enough.

Money makes…
It possible for a vision to become reality, especially in business.

I dance like…
Nobody’s watching.

Creativity comes from…
An inquisitive mind.

I have never…
Driven a car.

My future…
Africa! I hope to continue working closely with more African organisations , especially in Tanzania, to support the local fashion industry.

My vice is…
Ribena!

London is…
Home number two.

My mum...
My guardian angel and the most selfless person I know.

I like making...
Things in my head come to life.

I love getting older...
Because with age comes confidence and willingness to accept the person you are. My ‘take me as I am’ outlook also gives me fearlessness to be able to create knowing that I won’t please everyone and be fine with it.