Designer and founder Erika Freund launched Mikuti in 2009, while she had been attending graduate school at New York University. At the time she was studying social work, but was very interested in economic development, so she travelled to Tanzania to work in the field. While creating and implementing a training program on small business formation, she noted the abundant natural resource of banana trees.
Since then, Freund has taken her designs and ideas to Kenya, Uganda, and beyond. The original banana bark bangles have graced various runways, accessorizing shows at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week 2013, Mara Hoffman’s Resort Swim Show at Miami Fashion 2011, London Fashion Week, Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania, and The Hub of African Fashion Week in Addis, Ethiopia.
Inspired by the beauty of the Swahili Coast and the magnificent landscapes of East Africa, Mikuti merges the world of jewelry, fashion, and socially minded economic development. With a focus on sustainability, they create jobs, form partnerships, and support existing workshops and employment chains in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Through the creation of innovative designs and quality products using locally sourced materials and artisan skill, while being mindful of the impact they have on the communities where they work and the individuals they work with.
The spring and summer collection of Ceres Bangles celebrates a strong love affair with colour. With colour patterns including:
Staying true to their unique beading technique they’ve taken it up a notch with these babies, creating color patterns that compliment everyone’s taste. With pieces like African Orchid and Nantucket Summer, they may have created the summer “must have”.