In our March edition, we found out about the inspiring story behind the new sustainable fashion brand, koziishop, in Lagos. Sadly shortly afterwards they were forced to shut their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Kozii has just re opened for business and will brighten up your summer wardrobe with unique patterns and quality designs.

Remind yourself of their timeless journey to fashion in this article.

Daughter of a nomadic family, Cecília grew up with her family in Portugal, the US and Belgium. She then travelled to New Orleans, San Francisco and later Vancouver, while studying Cultural and Art Anthropology. Unsurprisingly, a young Cecília found her creative inspiration in studying different cultures and materials. Her first shot at fashion designing was when visiting her parents in Mozambique in 1997, where she began experimenting with prints and fabrics, designing garments from Batiks with the local women, as a hobby.

After her graduation, she embarked on an epic journey where she undertook to work with diverse materials in different countries. “For five years, I travelled alone to different countries to discover new techniques. In Mexico, I worked with leather and precious stones. In Brazil, I experimented with making necklaces out of seeds. I learnt embroidery in Guatemala. And then for three more years, together with Nuno, my partner in crime with whom I’ve been venturing through life for the past 15 years.” Cecília says that Nuno Campos, who has studied Environmental Management, has been with her every step of the way and they are the dream partnership.

After endless travelling, the couple felt the need to put down roots and have children. They wanted to settle in a beautiful place where they could feel at home. They first chose Vila Nova de Milfontes, on the beautiful West Coast in the Alentejo and exercised their creativity with a restaurant. Dissatisfied with the lifestyle a restaurant gives, the idea for their fashion brand began to take shape and in 2015 the couple moved to Tavira and launched Kozii. It was based on their identity, what they believed in and a style they thought would fit in Tavira.

Cecília has taught herself everything she knows and creates the designs from scratch with help from craftsmen, tailors and artists. Together they bring the concepts to fruition. Given her and Nuno’s backgrounds, it was inevitable that the label´s founding philosophy would be the line: “For Timeless Journeys.”

“Kozii is a journey through time that immerses us in a search for value, to learn from ancient traditions and to reinforce the importance of substance in fashion. Forever embracing the idea of fashion as a timeless journey. As an ongoing story of multiculturalism, Kozii pursues a balance between the use of ancient, slow and delicate art forms with modern contemporary needs”.

Kozii set out to support local artisans so they could develop their own crafts. “We naturally created a slow brand for those longing for aesthetics, honesty and sustainability in a brand. And it was in India that we found our strongest source of inspiration, more precisely in the city of Jaipur, in Rajasthan”.

When I met Cecília, she was about to embark on a journey to India to visit her printers. They use stamping techniques, such as woodblock printing, the oldest, simplest and slowest of all printing methods, allowing them to create a hybrid of contemporary fashion that, at the same time, safeguards tradition. The patterns that result from this are beautiful, both in their graphic simplicity and in their organic feel. Each garment is totally unique as it is hand-printed, so no two are ever the same. They limit the number of garments in each product range and pay people fairly through the process of production.

“Kozii is gratified by the knowledge it earns through time, creating each piece slowly and thoughtfully, to the scale of who makes it and of who will wear it. The result is the delivery of exclusive collections of the highest quality.” This comes at a price, and you will pay between 70€ and 150€ for a dress. It seems like a small price for something so intricately conceived and made.

Creating a sustainable brand was an organic process. They created a product that naturally mirrored their values and only then realised they had created a “sustainable” brand. They are pleased that they evolved this way as the more they learn about the fashion industry the more they realise how urgent it is to take a stand and make a difference. As you can read on their website, “The fashion industry is notoriously known for its ‘take-make-waste’ way of operating. It is an approach with a disastrous environmental impact and substantial economic losses. Not only depleting the planet of critical resources, but nearly 60 per cent of all the clothes produced end up being burned or in landfills within one year of their creation”.

Having been a great success in Tavira and online, they have now turned their sights to Lagos, “Everything we know about Lagos reflects our brand. It is bohemian and bursting with eclectic people who love food, travel, culture and care for the environment”. Their new premises are situated in a gorgeous pink-hued old building on a cobbled back street and they are giving it some contemporary glamour on the inside. In the same way as their brand it is old meets new.

It seems that everything to do with this venture has evolved organically, this includes the help of their new Lagos store manager, Flor. She had worked for Cecília and Nuno in Tavira for four years and then moved. In a twist of fate, they bumped into each other on the Climate Change March. Flor told them that she wished to move to Lagos because she surfs. “It all came together perfectly,” smiles Cecília.

Their endeavours have not gone unnoticed. Kozii has been worn by famous Portuguese actress Ines Castel Branco and by Portuguese model Luisa Beirão. They even dressed the hosts of the TV show Á descoberta com… still running on national TV. For the coming summer collection, they decided to make the editorial shoot in the São Tomé Islands, on the equatorial line. “We wanted to focus on the necessity of disconnecting to reconnect. To remind us of the loss of modernity to time, to slowness, to nature, to humanity”.

So what do they think the future holds? “Kozii never ceases to surprise us. With every new collection, we are startled to learn more about one or another uncovered fabric or printing technique. We are currently working with Organic Lotus flower fibres and Modal, which give a very light texture that feel just like a second skin”.

They would like the shop in Lagos to tell a story, Flor says, “As you wander through the shop there is a tale about every item. It is like visiting a museum of culture, textiles and fashion”.

For those wishing to experience the timeless journey that Kozii represents, you can now visit the shop, opened every day from 10 to 7 p.m and next Friday 13th, at 17.30, Kozii will offer music and a little aperol for the official celebration of their new little corner in Lagos. You are all cordially invited to attend!




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