Tribes of Kins’ Mia Interview

Who are you, what is your background?

My name is Mia Atabong, I was born in Cameroon, my family immigrated to the US when I was age 10 and I currently live in Brooklyn NY.

How did you get started?

I grew up watching my grandmother sew and although she never really encourage my using her sewing machine (our studies where more important), when she wasn’t around though I would get on that old singer and explore. About 6 years ago I finally bought my own Singer and taught myself, TribesOfKin was born in 2013.

What inspires your art, the brand?

My African culture and everyday people/things inspire my art.

Who is your client? What type of women wear your work?

People who aren’t afraid to stand out wear my work.

What is your ideal day? What is happening, who is there?

I work from home so my ideal day starts with a shower, then moment of silence, a cup of coffee while I check my social media accounts and then I get started on whatever orders need made, after that I work and experiment on new design ideas.

What is special about the print you use for your pieces?

The kente print is native to the Akan ethnic group of South Ghana, the original kind is hand-woven fabric that was worn by royalty on special occasions.  It has since been adopted by other west African countries and is the best known of all African textiles.

What other graphics/prints have caught your eye lately?

I like mudcloth fabric although it is very heavy and ideal for winter/fall.

What weird or normal habits you do while working on your art?

I love to listen to music (Afro House) while I work.

What is on your playlist now? Are you addicted to an artist or particular song?

Stromae, is the artist on my playlist now, I am presently obsessed with him.

What other passions you invest your time in?

When I am not designing, I braid hair and I also write a lot and working on a screenplay about African Women In NYC.

What do you think about fashion trends?

I really don’t follow or keep up with trends, I just do my thing.

What do you think about the glorification of Afro or other looks that are associated with the black culture/heritage?

I don’t like when black culture is culturally appropriated and glorified on non blacks.

Do you feel a little awkward that something that is natural seen as a trend?

I think it’s silly that when other non black cultures discover something that has been in the black community for ages and all of a sudden it’s hijacked and re-packaged to the masses as a “new” trend.

Where do you see yourself and your art in the next 5 years?

In 5 years I hope to be manufacturing my items in Cameroon and sold worldwide.

What type of difficulties you experience while creating or in general that might affect/prohibit  your creative process?

The only time I get hung up is when a design doesn’t fit on a form in a practical way and I have to edit the design to fit properly, sometimes it’s trial and error but I guess that’s all part of creative design process.

What advice do you have for an inspiring artist or designer?

My advice for an aspiring artist/designer is to just go for it, do what you can with what you have, do it your way and do it with passion.

You can find my shop online at http://tribesofkin.bigcartel.com

Also on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/TribesOfKin