Antonia Stogdale is a woman of many talents: part professional chef, part safari guide, part designer. Not your typical triple threat. Out of her experience living and working in Northern Kenya, Antonia saw the need for Maasai women to have sustainable income and also recognized their unique, traditional hand-beading skills passed down through generations. And so Antassia was born: a unique brand and partnership where Antonia designs beautiful one-of-a-kind beaded clutches and Maasai women create them by hand, all while in a mud hut (literally). This enables Maasai women to sustain their culture and work from home, as they have many time-consuming duties, including farming and collecting water — a two-hour journey.
These bags are extraordinary, taking two weeks to complete and approximately 10,000 beads (400-500 grams) . The Maasai women receive income for what they make — for instance, $50 for a 500 gram bag — and they use this money to support their basic needs: food and education for their families. Proceeds from the sales of the clutches go to additional materials and resources for the partnership.
Shop the beaded clutches on figue.com and learn more about this incredible brand and collaboration from Antonia...
Figue: Describe Antassia brand in a few words.
Antonia Stogsdale: Ethical, sustainable artisan fashion
F: What does artisanship mean to you?
AS: In this case, women creating uniquely special, one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
F: What was the inspiration for the clutches?
AS: Wanting to create something that was unique to the Maasai women of Tassia that created a sustainable income and lifestyle for the community. And also to keep alive their ancient tradition of beading by creating a useful piece that translates beyond The Maasai and the mud huts where they live.
F: What tools and techniques do they use in craftsmanship?
AS: Handmade Maasai beading techniques with needles, fishing line and beads.
F: What is the meaning behind the bags?
AS: Beading has always existed in their culture and denotes status, wealth and respect in the community. These beaded bags now symbolize hope for the future generations and sustainable income for this community. The next stage of the Antassia project is to channel awareness and support for family planning and a mobile clinic.
F: What makes Northern Kenya special?
AS: Vast areas of wilderness, an incredibly proud and resilient Maasai community, raw and breathtaking beauty, and serenity & excitement at the same time.
F: Your current dream travel destination?
F: Favorite thing about Figue?
AS: Stephanie's love of connecting like-minded people and empowering otherwise unknown women’s group projects. She has an infectious energy and willingness to help artisanal projects around the globe, giving them an incredible opportunity that they would otherwise never have.