Friday, January 21

{Interview with} Rosy Sambwa of Kinses


So here we are for our second {Interview with...} post which is going to be a monthly column here on ECS.
Today I would like to introduce you my dear friend Rosy who founded last year her own brand, Kinses. Rosy is a very talented individual and we have known each other for just 10 years now! wow, time flies!!
:: Celebration ::

We met in Paris in September 2000 at Esmod, a renown International Fashion School - we were in the same class. Rosy and I got along immediately as I love her humor, her kindness, her style (she is as pretty and stylish in real life as in picture), her vast knowledge about fashion, art etc... we quickly became good friends and I have fond memories of my year in Paris as a fashion student.
But more exciting things were to happen when we both decided to move to Florence, Italy, after getting our diploma. Naive! we thought we would easily find jobs in the fashion industry but in fact Florence and Tuscany are most known for beautiful wines and food... and jewelry!
We ended up in two different schools but I think we both enjoyed it a lot, and we had a great time in Italy!

You need to know that Rosy and I have a passion for food, especially sweets...
Here at Laduree, in St Germain des Pres, Paris, 2008 
Photo credit: Alexandra Brandelet

Now let's see why we all fall for Rosy, and for Kinses!

Tell us a bit of your story: where are you coming from, what and where did you study, places you have lived in, etc...
Where are you currently living and what are your current projects?

My parents were living in Paris when I was born (in Boulogne Billancourt). We then moved to Brussels in Belgium (age 2) where I grew up with my brothers and sisters. Both my parents are from Congo-Kinshasa (or Democratic Republic of the Congo) but I consider myself both a Congolese and a Belgian. Although I have traveled the world extensively from a young age, my roots are in Brussels and in Kinshasa; my identity is deeply linked to these two cities.
Brussels has been the "dock" I have departed from to study: back in Paris in 1997 to attend an Interior design course and then an International Fashion School then Jewelry Design in Florence, Italy from 2001 till 2003.
I absolutely loved the jewelry course I took in Florence, at a school called Alchemia Firenze. It really had a "magnet effect" on me.

Photo credit: Rosy Sambwa

In 2009 I stopped in Kinshasa and I am now based in Congo, although I regularly go to Brussels for work (and for pleasure - Belgian chocolate, hmmm!)
I don't want to concentrate on only designing clothes, or jewels, or furnitures. Ideas keep on coming my way and bump into each other; a piece of jewelry can inspire me to design a furniture or a piece of fabric will influence how I create a necklace (its design, the color scheme etc...).
Kinshasa currently allows me to let it go and create whatever is crossing my mind.
Talk about creative freedom here! wow, a dream come true!
I have been working on projects as different as designing dresses, kitchen, office interior, jewels, furnitures and even restaurant dishes!

Photo credit: Charalambos Gagalis

The downside of it all is that it looks like I am doing everything and nothing, I might look less professional than if I would specialize in one thing. Step by step however it is coming to shape and something important is emerging: the identity of the brand I created, Kinses.

Describe your creative process. What are you communicating through your products? where do you find your inspiration? 

This is a tough question! At the moment to be honest, it’s just as if (I want to insist on « as if ») things were coming out naturally. 

It is a bit like a first draft of all the experiences and feelings I have accumulated over the past years, so many years in fact, I have created my own world and defined my identity: who I am, where I'm coming from and where I want to go (hmm!). It takes many years to "find yourself"; my work is a mixture of my childhood memories, memories from Kinshasa and memories from Brussels. 
It doesn't matter to me to identify where my influences are; I see my work as a whole and I don't want to start pointing at collections or objects saying it comes from this or that.

I just hope to communicate my love for a perfect job and my attention to details. I want people to fall for these unique pieces made of the knowhow of craftsmen.

Photo credit: Charalambos Gagalis

Great! May I ask you when did you start thinking about Kinses? what is the meaning of this rather beautiful name?

I started thinking about creating my own business in 2007-2008; it is a rather long process to dig in your memories, try to remember who you are and where you come from, and find your own identity. I was a bit lost and felt as if my previous jobs had influenced me and somehow confused me about my own tastes (ndlr: Jean Paul Knott then LTG).

So I first tried to remember what I really liked and I slowly made my way through my family memories: born in Paris, but my parents met in NYC and studied in Brussels (father) and Congo (mother). At the end I realized that even though we all lived and grew up in Brussels, our common roots were pretty much in Kinshasa!

Photo credit: Bertrand Sottiaux

I never encountered comments about my Belgian identity, but how many of them about the Congolese one! I have often been called a "bounty" (black outside and white inside) or people would blame me for not growing up in Kinshasa...
I wanted to play with words... Kin's standing for "from Kinshasa" but I wanted to avoid the comma... so I opted for Kines but a quick search on the internet made me change my mind and I finally chose KINSES.

Kinses stands for:
- two cities close to my heart: Brussels and Kinshasa
- unique pieces: the essence of my work! 
- 2009: the year of the rebirth
- surprises: I love being surprised or surprising people; beyond what you see at first sight is something else that has yet to be discovered...
Photo credit: Bertrand Sottiaux

What are your favorite materials to work with?

I only want to work with beautiful materials : leather, iron, synthetic raffia, printed cotton, Swarovski cristals, semi precious stones, plain wood, ceramic… My philosophy is that if the material is beautiful, you don't need to disguise it and make complicated shapes. I love to "feel" a material too: there is nothing comparable to slowly touch a beautiful piece of leather, a silky fabric, a colorful printed cotton... play with precious stones or appreciate the smoothness of a pearl.
Photo credit: Bertrand Sottiaux

Your wildest dreams are...

Everything is possible to whom believes... I’m fighting to make my dreams come true!

 Hobbies: what are you doing when you are not at your desk working on Kinses?

For the time being Kinses is occupying my days and night; no matter what I do it always relates to Kinses… Anything can be a source of inspiration.
I like to spend time with people - friends or family, cook, travel; I like gardening, reading and chatting, learning new things, singing  - although I am rather bad at it; I like to make a fool of myself with children because this is easy to me… And of course I need my dose of visits to exhibitions, I LOVE to go to restaurants...

I like to learn new things, isn't it called a fulfilling life?

Merci Rosy, thank you for accepting to share with us your creative process and a tiny bite of your story... you are a very talented person and a great friend, please don't change!

Everyone, I would like to get your attention on the beautiful pictures professionally taken by the following photographers:
- purses and household linen by Bertrand Sottiaux
- jewelry and belts by Charalambos Gagalis

It's immensely important to have good photographs to represent your work. They need to "speak" on your behalf about who you are and what your creations are...

For the need of this interview I created all the collages with the pictures that Rosy provided me; I hope you appreciate them. Feel free to comment and give us feedback, that's the only way we can improve!

And to keep in touch with Rosy, it's as easy as that:
Daily on Rosy's blog (in French only): Kinses, le blog - Qualifies pour toutes sortes d'ouvrages 
She also made her debut on Facebook: My Kinses
Website coming soon:

and write to her: if you are interested in doing business with Kinses ;)

See you next month for another exciting discovery!


Mariella said...

Oh her designs are so beautiful! I love the color and the prints, truly wonderful, thanks Marie for sharing Rosy's story with us!

Travel With Lulu said...

She is someone I would love to meet - so interesting and inspiring! Great interview XoL

Heather said...

These are lovely! Such a great story...thanks! (Found you via BYW!)

Marie Maglaque said...

Thank you Mariella, Laura and Heather! Glad you like it... Rosy is an amazingly creative person! to keep an eye on her work, she's gonna make it to the top!

Aline said...

Very nice Rosy!!! and thanks Marie for sharing your best friends with us!!! Aline

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