Tuesday 10 December, 2019

'Rock daughter' Korto Momolu takes hemp to the runway

Designer Korto Momolu

Designer Korto Momolu

Fashion designer and Project Runway season five alum, Korto Momolu debuted a womenswear collection primarily made of hemp-infused fabrics during New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

Momolu, a Liberian-born fashion designer and stylist, is an honorary daughter of The Rock, and has been since the early 2000s when she joined forces with Collection MoDA conceptualizer, Kerry-Ann Clarke.

“I met Korto through Yendi Phillipps (Miss Jamaica Universe 2010). She’d just returned from the Cayman Islands on pageant duties and gabbed about this fab designer she’d met,” Clarke chimed. “We e-met and I was intrigued. I invited her to Jamaica for Fashion’s Night Out in 2010, and she agreed!”

The rest, as they say, is history.

The collection, which features sustainable fabrics such as Hemp, Jute (burlap), linen and cork, is the product of a collaboration with the female-led Women Grow, an organisation founded in 2014 in Denver, Colorado that focuses on female leadership in the cannabis industry.

Women Grow's primary goal is to turn legal cannabis into the first female-led, billion-dollar industry. And what better way to kickstart that goal than through fashion and a collaboration with Momolu?

“They wanted to respond to the fashion market and a mutual contact connected us,” Momolu told LOOP.

“The inspiration was definitely about creating a new idea of what beauty is as it pertains to the fashion industry. We all know how superficial the industry can be, our initiative was to change the narrative. That’s why using fabrics that are otherwise considered ugly or unfashionable and models that are not the standard was highly important with this collection and our show at NYFW."

The very “ugly...unfashionable fabrics” were fused with high-end fabrics like sequins, brocade, and silks that added elements of luxe and depth.

“The cuts were primarily sportswear and evening items but the fabrication created a new look that seemed to resonate with the audience,” Momolu shared.

The duo joins a cadre of hemp fashionistas already on the market and have hinted at plans to mass-produce the pieces for the very reason others have – hemp fashion has grown tremendously over the past thousand years, has been considered the fabric of civilisation, and, more importantly, is making a comeback.

And what were Momolu’s seven strains of inspiration for the project?

  • Life, Travel, Color, Texture, Culture, Architecture, Music.

Traditionally, hemp fibres have been used to make a living or processed to make apparel, building materials, skincare products, a spread of food items, and even paper. The fast-growing, eco-friendly plant that is 62% more durable than cotton needs very little nurturing, which means very little maintenance needed.

But locally and internationally, the production of CBD has spilled over into an array of lifestyle and holistic products that are in high demand globally.

The 2020 Spring/Summer collection by Korto Momolu was presented for Women Grow at Pier 59 Studios in New York City during New York Fashion Week on September 7, 2019.

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