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Conscious Fashion: Nakate Project


I love unique and beautiful jewelry.  My favorite is silver but I have a special place in my heart for wood and/or bone jewelry.  Jewelry for a selfless cause is the most beautiful jewelry of all to me and because of this I had to share the jewelry and the purpose behind the Nakate Project.  

I became aware of the Nakate Project when I connected with them on Twitter. I fell in love with the gorgeous bangles bracelets but I became an admirer of them once I found out what they were doing to help the people of Uganda. I had a chance to discuss this wonderful company with Nakete’s  CEO and founder, Shanley.   Let me share their purpose, their passion and their pieces.

What is Nakate?
Nakate supports Ugandan sustainability and upcycling through the production of handcrafted accessories, designed in Kampala and assembled in Kibuli. Through fair wages, business training, and positive, professional interaction with partners and artisans, we do our part to break Uganda’s damaging cycle of aid-dependency.  

Shanley was reporting on Aids projects in a village in Uganda when she met Cossy, a seven year old girl who lost her parents to Aids.  

I was reporting on AIDS projects in Cossy Nakate’s village when I realized the only model of global partnership she saw was aid and philanthropy driven.  I was inspired to provide an alternative perspective on international partnership for girls like Cossy and returned one year later with my new business, Nakate, to provide a marketing platform for made by hand products from her village.

What is Nakate’s purpose?
Our company creates lasting economic change through partnering with Ugandan run initiatives and enabling them to scale through implementing quality control, positive business practices and improving working conditions.

Our idea of taking Africa with you is centered on the belief that the Africa we have experienced has to something to teach and offer brave, open, inspired women across the globe. 

Who are the people behind Nakate?
I am a NYC based social entrepreneur. I also have a blog that shares the journey of growing Nakate: I own Nakate, and then I partner with Florence Okun, a 45 year old Ugandan creator and activist who managers our group of 10 creators. Ginny Abimanya is also a Ugandan and entrepreneur in her 20s, and she runs operations and manages our growth on the ground in partnership with Florence. She also designed our latest line!

What products do you offer?

examples of the Eco Paper collection

The Kigugu (Luganda for “wild”) is what our lead artisan, Florence, refers to as the crazy bracelet. A complex pattern of paper and glass beads, this bracelet makes a wild statement all on its own.

13 Unique star patterns designed by Nakate lead artisan Florence Okun. The Nyota necklace is part of  the Knox-Esteban collection curated by Nakate founder Shanley Knox and celebrity stylist Antonio Esteban – combining Knoxes perspective on Uganda, and Antonio’s high fashion aesthetic.

examples of the Horn and Bone collection

Perfect for stacking or wearing on its own, the Ensolo bangle is our sleekest cow horn piece – hand crafted in a simple, statement design suitable for any occasion.  Upcycled Ugandan cattle horn. Approx ¼ inch in height. Width between 65 and 68 mm. Natural color. Clear finish.

Upcycled Ugandan cattle horn. Approx ¼ inch in height. Width between 65 and 68 mm. Natural color. Clear finish.

Deep in central Uganda’s rural farming districts, the cattle market is necessary for survival, both for cattle farmers and families sustaining themselves in rural areas. After market sales, the bones and horns of these majestic creatures are often thrown out to burn.

We support Ugandan upcycling through putting after market waste to use through unique design.

I was very happy to know that the once discarded cow horns were being used in such a productive and positive way.  Nakate Project is a woman owned and operated business that has found a way to empower and uplift Uganda women and children and not be overly expensive.  I was blown away at the artistry as well as the affordability. 

Also, Shanley has been kind enough to share a 15% coupon with Seriously Natural readers!  Please take the time to see the rest of these beautiful collections and use the code:  

Check out more of Nakete’s pieces here:

Women empowering women is always the right thing to do Naturals,

All photos belong to Nakate


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