Last year, I was shopping for my first cruise and wanted to find an African dress to take with me. I Googled different black-owned, African stores in my area and came across one that had a variety of Dashiki dresses but none of them stood out. As I was on my way home, I drove past Kutula by Africana and the pieces in the window were gorgeous; I had to see more. I walked in and was immediately greeted by the vibrant owner/designer, Francesca. I moved through the aisles listening to her tell me about their product line as my eyes danced from the bold array of colors to the intricate African prints. As I tried on different pieces, Francesca would teach me the meanings of the patterns I was wearing (if they had any). She even taught me a few different ways to wrap a gele (African head wrap). I felt so comfortable playing dress up and listening to her talk about the motherland. The prices were pretty steep but I was drawn to the clothing details and the African tales so I decided to invest in a piece and support the brand.
Photography: Tara Scoville