Fly Female Entrepreneur: Kahindo Mateene

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Founded in 2009 by Fly Female Entrepreneur, Kahindo Mateene, MODAHNIK is known for its mix of vibrant colors and bold prints. Having lived and traveled in Africa, Europe and America, Kahindo combines these different stylistic elements quite seamlessly, bringing a unique point of view to her design aesthetic. A native of  The Democratic Republic of Congo, she pulls inspiration from the avant garde spirit of the Congolese art and culture.

The MODAHNIK woman is a global nomad who views fashion as a creative expression of her individuality. She is classically feminine with an edge and dares to be bold. With a vibrant color story, African-influenced prints are mixed with modern styles for the sophisticated woman. Each MODAHNIK design pays close attention to detail and is tailored to flatter a woman’s natural curves.

I had an opportunity to meet the talented Kahindo Mateene after this fall’s Harlem’s Fashion Row presentation during New York Fashion Week and knew immediately that I wanted to share her story. Read on as Kahindo speaks candidly on life as an independent designer and her experience as a contestant on Season 12 of Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated Project Runway:

In Her Shoes: What is the meaning behind your brand’s name, MODAHNIK?

Kahindo: Modahnik is an anagram. The letters in Modahnik spell out my first name Kahindo and last initial M. Mode is French for fashion and moda is fashion in Italian, so I thought MODAHNIK was a perfect name that is uniquely me and infused in style.

In Her Shoes: Your career is on the upswing with your recent participation in Project Runway and all of the other amazing opportunities you’ve been seizing. What was the greatest lesson you learned on the show?

Kahindo: Project Runway was an interesting experience and I must admit, I was a little naive going into it. I learned that I am a strong designer with a unique voice and that I definitely have a growing brand in the fashion industry through which I can tell my story.

In Her Shoes: Congrats on your beautiful Harlem’s Fashion Row presentation during this fall’s Fashion Week. I know that Harlem’s Fashion Row is more than a runway show, it’s truly an opportunity for designers to enhance their presentation skills and branding strategies. How would you say that participating in Harlem’s Fashion Row has helped you improve as a designer?

Kahindo: As a designer and artist, the pieces I create are very personal and I become emotionally connected to each collection. Presenting to a room full of editors at the HFR Editor’s Luncheon was quite daunting, even after being on Project Runway. The experience made me look at my collection from an editor’s point of view, which definitely helped my perspective and will be of great benefit moving forward!

In Her Shoes: What is a day like in Kahindo Mateene’s shoes?

Kahindo: A day in my life is fast-paced, ever changing, exciting and last but not least, challenging. I jump from design to sales, to marketing, to client meetings – all while being present on social media! It’s not for the faint of heart.

In Her Shoes: Which era do you think was the absolute best for fashion and why?

Kahindo: The 70’s for the color and prints!

In Her Shoes: 2014 is just around the corner. What can we expect from your brand in the new year?

Kahindo: I can’t believe 2013 is nearly over. This year definitely flew by! I am currently working on my FW14 collection which will be more experimental while staying true to the MODAHNIK DNA. In 2014 I hope all my hard work and sacrifices start paying off in a BIG way with a revamped online store, increased stockists carrying MODAHNIK and press in the leading fashion publications. I’m truly excited for what’s to come!

To learn more about Modahnik visit www.modahnik.com.


As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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