Back to Global Conversations 1.14: Anna Trzebinski, Fashion Designer
Nairobi-based designer Anna Trzebinski is proof that beauty and strength can emerge from tragedy and heartache: In sharing her story with Melissa Biggs Bradley, she reveals insights on love, loss, the healing power of nature, getting advice from Ralph Lauren, pivoting her business post-COVID and creating a “nest” for the women in her community to help them thrive.
German-born and Kenyan raised, Fashion Designer Anna Trzebinski has made an international name for herself, creating fashion, jewelry, and accessory lines. Her designs merge sophisticated European sensibility with African tribal artisanship and embellishment. But she found her way into this career only after great personal loss. Her husband and father of two of her children, artist Tonio Trzebinski, was murdered in a carjacking in Nairobi in 2001. Her grief took her deep into the African bush, back to nature. The healing power of which, she says, has always given her perspective and courage throughout her many moments of hardship. This journey also led her to Lemarti, a Samburu warrior who she married and had a daughter with, and with whom she operated a wonderful and very stylish safari camp for many years.
Today, Anna is back in Nairobi, where she runs her incredible workroom and showroom with stunning one of a kind creations that are inspired by Maasai and Samburu designs. They’re handmade by women from these and other cultural backgrounds. Anna, being a true believer in the idea of women lifting each other up, has created a powerful community collective. None of her choices have been traditional or expected, and she honestly talks about the struggle and late-night panic attacks some of the twists and turns of her life have brought her. But she also talks about the incredible moments of grace. She speaks to Melissa from Nairobi, sitting in her garden, surrounded by the sounds of East Africa. In the course of a rich, meandering and very candid conversation, she ended up sharing a first look at a new project that she believes will tie all of her life’s work and threads together.