An article of clothing worn by ancient Arab merchants should be seen on Brazilian beaches this coming Summer. Kikoy, the fabric they used wrapped around their bodies while crossing the desert and cities on their camels should become a kanga in the hand of Brazilian women.
Importers Kika Lerner and Luciana Lis, from São Paulo, brought the product to the country, and distributor Bruna Rother is inserting them in the Brazilian retail market.
The products are sold under brand Kikoy's, which is also the original name of the fabric. It is all made out of cotton and is woven manually, according to Rother. Despite having been used primarily in the Arab markets, the fabric, normally woven in colorful tones, was promoted in non-Arab countries like Kenya and Tanzania. The products sold by Rother are made in Kenya, a country in East Africa.
According to Rother, kikoys have been successful for a year and a half on the European continent and are used by stars like Madonna and Brad Pitt. In Brazil, however, they should become popular next summer.
Kikoys imported from Kenya by Kika and Luciana also serve as towels as the inner side is made out of towelling. Without the towel part, however, they may be used in other ways, as blankets and scarves.
Two of the shops that are going to sell the product in Brazil are NK Store and SUB, in São Paulo. The products may also be purchased at Rother's showroom, for 338 Brazilian reais (US$ 190). Businesswoman Rother believes that the versatility of the product – the fact that it can be used as a kanga and towel – should be the great differential.
According to information disclosed by the distributor, after reaching the African countries, taken by the Arab merchants, kikoys gained their own characteristics and became part of the history of attire in these countries.
In Kenya, for example, they are produced out of cotton imported from Tanzania and Uganda. The items have woven edges, in the form of fringes.
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