Vancouver designer Treana Peake believes in giving back. As founder and creative director of Obakki Designs, the Vancouver philanthropist funnels all of her profits back into the country that inspires her creations. “I come up with the story and the palette,” she says of her penchant for marrying politics with fashion. “Then I surround myself with good pattern makers and sewers.”

A seasoned traveler to Africa and particularly the Sudan, Peake draws her inspiration from her travels. “I am moved by what I experience; that’s where my passion comes from.” Her fall and winter 2012 collection mirrors civil unrest. Vivid colors representing violence give way to more muted, structured garments symbolizing the creation of an independent South Sudan.

Her spring 2013 collection symbolizes modern Africa overtaking traditional Africa and takes the form of layering modern fabrics like organza over cotton. One garment in particular showcases the duality. A hard edge swath of white peppered with energetic brush strokes seems constrained by a pure black ground. Her palette this time around is black, white and blue.

Peake admits she’s using fashion as a means to an end. And while it would be easy to dismiss her political position as a gimmick to sell clothes, she is not a dilettante. She puts her money where her mouth is, helping people in the communities she’s visited. In this case Peake is plowing 100% of her net profits through her registered charity the Obakki Foundation into drilling water wells across South Sudan in the hope more wells will alleviate inter-tribal squabbling at the nation’s livestock watering stations.

Her good works aside, Peake’s fashions stand on their own and have been featured in Vogue UK, Elle Canada, In Style and Grazia. Obakki Designs are available in high end boutiques across Canada and the United States and online at Obakki website Collections_SS13_1

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