So today I wanted to put you onto a hot collection called Boxing Kitten…


Created by Maya Lake (pictured above), the line is inspired by Josephine Baker, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marion Lake, and is rooted in the political and cultural elements that women faced during the Civil Rights movement…
Maya says, “If you take the patterns and very feminine silhouettes of women from the Civil Rights and then put those dresses in African inspired prints and fabric, then you have the Boxing Kitten aesthetic...”
Each garment is comprised of bold and fearless print combinations, and cut in charming and demure silhouettes. Unique and pretty, Maya calls Boxing Kitten “ethnic rockability.”

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Maya began designing clothing at the age of 10 with the help of her mother, and by 15 she was sewing clothing for family and friends. The demand for her clothing steadily increased and she soon began to think about sharing her art with a larger base.
After a few years, Alife, Prohibit and Patricia Fields began selling her clothes, and stars like Me’shell Ndgeocello, Erykah Badu, Cristina Milian, DJ Rashida and Jack of J*Davey became customers and fans…
If you want to know more about the line, visit Boxing Kitten at www.myspace.com/boxingkitten. I need to have one of those dresses!
Thanks Kim!

26 thoughts on “Designer Spotlight: Boxing Kitten”

  1. this isn’t that original at all…

    check out artist/textile designer yinka shonibare.

    might we be cognizant of what we label as “african” and how ambiguous and often, inaccurate that term can be.

  2. I don’t think she ever purported to be ‘Authentic’ or ‘African’…I think the term constantly evolves and what she’s doing is just a modern interpretation of what she understands African to be. Pple get so upset about african prints being used and sold commercially, but change is constant…we must be willing to embrace it to remain relevant.

  3. i agree with you completely; however, we must be cognizant of the “africas” of the mind, and not become so worried about “authenticity”, but tune our minds to think about the ways in which these terms and complicated socio-cultural landscapes/politics evolve from/with them.

  4. Nothing Original…Our mothers have been rocking this for the longest time. Its name is Ankara and not ethnic fabric.
    Personally i have a huge problem with it being used commercially.
    Its like folks wearing Kente and not even knowing what is stands for.
    Another way to make profit off of our culture.
    No thanks!!

  5. The designer is black…why can’t she use African prints? And isn’t it better to be sold commercially than for it to be ignored and invisible?

  6. @geisha..its not ignored and invisible. If it was..it wouldn’t have a a name..and you keep saying African..she doesn’t even know what part of Africa that fabric is indigenous to. Its not ok to just call it “ethnic fabric”.
    We use it for weddings, funerals, everyday wear. Ask any Nigerian you know to tell you bout ankara.
    All of a sudden because mainstream America doesn’t know bout it..its ignored and invisible?
    Pls spare me!!

  7. so the quote says, “african inspired prints and fabrics” which to me means that elements of the fabric (including colors, designs etc) are inspired by many fabrics of the continent and not necessarily one particular place (although i will admit that the majority of the fabric resembles ankara).

    next thing: if ankara is sold commercially in markets in nigeria, what is the problem with selling it– refashioned–in another country? the refashioning highlights the originality of maya’s work because she was able to envision something fresh–a new way to incorporate the bold colors and beautiful patterns of ankara for anyone who can pull it off.

    this is a global economy and complete alienation of the source is always possibility with people bastardizing resources in the name of a profit, but if you look at maya’s clothing it becomes evident that her work is coming from a place of appreciation for an aesthetic and a commitment to quality. boxing kitten doesn’t mass produce these dresses and sell them at walmart. the dresses are pieces of art and should be taken as such.

    and actually… damn, this is turning into a much longer comment than anticipated… if you look at the work from an analytical, artistic perspective, and take the basic concept of african inspired prints x civil rights silhouettes, the dresses become a sort of commentary on the unclear origins of many african-american families who have been in this country for multiple generations. it’s almost a nod to the idea of trying to find a connection to a “home” which puts us in the position of a hyphenated citizen–african-american–without necessarily knowing where those african roots can be found.


    politics, classifications and dissertations aside, are the dresses fly, or what?

  8. Go maya! we went to h.s together .. your line is inspiring.. keep up the good work..


  9. I own the Boxing Kitten Billie dress, and I fail to see where any disrespect or exploitation come into play.

    The clothes are a sophisticated, inherently womanly, amalgam of both parts of our African American heritage in modern, wearable garments.

    What’s not to love?

  10. And…

    I’ve seen Yinka Shonibare’s work which is dope- no question. But its not for sale as apparel, and would you even wear it if it were?

  11. Josephine Baker…African-American…civil rights movement..Not to sound condescending but Elle Woods is totally correct. Because those are the terms she used to launch/market these items everyone is suddenly on them. Please inform were this inspiration is coming from? Because I really don't see it.

    Its just simple Ankara, that we have used before and cut and designed into "what we think is something different" Re-marketed to the mainstream…Then again i guess thats what fashion is…

    …Ive seen better

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