Modahnik is a fashion line that is inspired by the avant garde eclecticism of Congolese art and culture. With vibrant, colorful prints and solids, we combine African textiles with cutting edge patterns, and styles for the sophisticated woman. From Congo to Chicago we cater to the woman with an exquisite sense of style, and a desire to stand apart from the crowd. The Modahnik woman is a global nomad who sees fashion as a creative expression of her independence and individuality.
Each Modahnik dress is a celebration of the female form. Creative Director Kahindo Mateene’s artful draping, and understanding of symmetry transforms ordinary prints into stylish wearable pieces of art. We believe that fashion is most stylish when it is produced with the highest ethical and socially conscious principles.
Kahindo Mateene, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo founded Modahnik (an anagram of her first name and last initial) in 2009 during Fashion Focus Chicago. She is an alumni of the 2011 class of the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street Designer In Residence Program.
She grew up in transit between multiple metropolises. Although she is originally from Congo-DRC, she was born in Kampala, Uganda. Her father’s job as a diplomat meant the family moved a lot. Kahindo’s love for fashion comes from years of observing la grace de la mode africaine.
By the time Kahindo was a teenager she had lived in Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Niger, and Kenya. It was during these sejours that Kahindo says she was introduced to the eclecticism of African fashion. “I was able to see how geography, climate and culture affected the way African women dressed,” she says.
Equally as influential as the style she saw on the streets was the personal style of the women in her family. Her mother’s Singer sewing machine was a house staple no matter where they went. A young Kahindo would spend hours in front of the mirror trying to find creative ways to drape and wrap left over africana fabric across her body.
Kahindo has brought that early fascination with draping and prints to her ethical fashion line Modahnik. It was launched in 2009 after she completed a dual Fashion Design and International Business degree from Illinois Institute of Art and Blackburn College.
“ I feel like what I do is integral to my DNA,” she says.
“I came to a point in my life when I really embraced my culture. I immersed myself in reading Africa’s history. I have this innate need to stay connected to my heritage and using African prints helps me to feel at home. As well as constantly traveling and discovering new places such as South Africa and Mali. I want to use fashion to bridge the gap between Africa and the West.”