EBONY TALES - Finally Blogging

2011 Maasailand - North Tanzania                                                                                                                                   image by Anoop Singh

I’m Leen Samyn - a Belgian fashion designer and entrepreneur. After establishing my brand in Africa in 2011, I’ve finally decided to document my work, life, and inspiration since moving from Belgium to Arusha, Tanzania in 2006. In documenting my experiences I hope to shed light on the beauty, vibrancy and chaos of this once sleepy east African town, its surrounding landscape, and the people from whom I draw my inspiration to create Leen Samyn uniquely hand crafted items. But first some background. . .After completing my masters in fashion design and working in the field as a costume designer and stylist in Belgium for four years I found myself wanting something different. What started out as a break from the life I once knew became the start of a new adventure. Taken by my new surroundings- the cultures and lands of the various tribes of the Great Rift Valley- I had the idea to satiate my unrelenting need to create in such a way that reflected this beautiful country and provide me with a means to give back to its people who have given me so much. What began by sitting on a blanket with two Maasai women has evolved into a permanent workshop from which I collaborate with Maasai and Datoga tribes in producing the Leen Samyn collections.  Growth, however, has not clouded my vision. I am committed to creating high quality, sustainable, local products. From the tannery that provides the leather, to the rolling foothills of Mount Meru and hectic Saturday markets that inspire me, to the weathered Datoga and Maasai hands that so skillfully have helped make my vision into reality, Leen Samyn brand is a unique confluence of East African skills and European design. In my designs I hope to foster a dialogue between African and European cultures by showcasing the warmth and beauty of this continent and its various cultures and people. My life and work have become inextricably intertwined and thus in writing these tales, I hope to offer both a professional and personal window into the life I now live and the craftsmanship, skill and experiences of my beautiful friends and family which is how Leen Samyn brand has been established. From buying beads on Maasai markets to adventures to the tannery in Kenya, there are many more stories and pictures to come! Karibu Wote! Welcome all!