Established in 2019, Studio Doa is a Kenyan jewelry and clothing brand founded by London-based designer Katie Robertson-Macleod. The company's mission is to produce eco-friendly clothing and jewelry using ethical practices that are beneficial to the environment, empowering to the community, offer long-term sustainable incomes, and preserve traditional skills.
“I have spent half of my life in Kenya, my mother grew up there and all my maternal family still live in rural Nakuru,” Robertson-Macleod states. “Because of my experiences and personal connections since a young age, it felt intrinsic to me that I work with artisans and suppliers based in communities I knew had the craftsmanship to co-create with me.”
Inspired by the works of painter Wassily Kandinsky and architect Luis Barragan, Robertson-Macleod is drawn to bold silhouettes and the beauty of imperfection, intending to echo the qualities of Kenya's magnificent natural landscape in her designs. Drawing from shapes and symbols used in surrealist art, Robertson-Macleod works to translate them into sculptural, wearable objects. Her opulent pieces range from classic to statement, each piece boasting a timeless, wearable art appeal.
Using materials such as recycled brass, Rift Valley Obsidian, gold, and silver, Studio Doa’s jewelry and clothing designs are brought to life in Kenya by local silversmiths, artisans, and tailors. According to Robertson-Macleod, the precious jewelry pieces are an exploration of the handcrafted form, a way of playing with character and mood through metals. “I really like to look at the primordial elements of body ornaments, and explore storytelling through our pieces,” she says.
When it comes to design process, Robertson-Macleod takes an unconventional approach. She admits to having always struggled with traditional pattern cutting, choosing instead to design “directly onto the body”. Calling herself a 3D designer, she works by positioning fabrics or metals on herself or a mannequin and works alongside artisans in the formative stages to allow the pieces to evolve in her hands. When she doesn’t yet have access to the materials, Robertson-Macleod will sometimes draw the designs straight onto her hands and body.
As for Studio Doa’s ready-to-wear garment collections, they’re crafted using silks produced by Eri and Mulberry silk worms. Consisting of highly wearable separates in classic shapes with powerful silhouettes, they’re a confident refinement of casual everyday pieces—ones that are easily paired with the brand’s expressive jewelry styles and offer a distinctively earthy and bold yet balanced aesthetic.