PendaWear™ is an urban/West African ArtWear brand created by swiss-malian Artist Penda Diakité. Her designs are a visual blend of her West African culture and urban upbringing in the States.
Each item is custom quality made-to-order art-wear apparel for all shapes and sizes.
It all started in 1998…
Grandma Penda sits at the base of her bed in her small adobe room in West, Africa. In the far corner sits a metal chest. That metal chest is like a treasure trove to me because I know it hold yards of beautifully colored fabric. I lift the two latches on the trunk as I have done many times before, and dive into the endless colors and designs. I set aside the rough batiks since they are coated in wax and do not feel as soft against my skin. I grab a deep blue cotton cloth, patterned in white dots, and wrap myself in it, imagining I am floating high up in the sky, staring at a million little stars. How satisfying it feels to slide the cotton against my face and watch the dots race by like fireflies. Next I pick up a white silk and majestically wrap it around me, imagining I am a queen in the Sahara desert, spiraling my neck and wrists to sharp clicks of tocumba music.
When I grow dizzy from dancing, I fall into the sea of fabrics and close my eyes, blindly swimming through different knits and textures. When I open them, grandma Penda is standing above me.
“You have wrinkled all of my good fabric again!”
I spend all afternoon helping her fold them back into place. At the top of the pile I lay a bright orange batik, adorned in a design of dark branches and leaves.
I begin imagining my next adventure… lost in a forest of burning branches on my way home from the market-- PAP!
Grandma closes the lid to her treasure chest.