Betty Vanetti: Motivated for Change


“I have been a designer since I was born, I think I designed before I could talk. All my life it was about fashion.”

BV has been in the fashion business for ten years on and off. BV worked previously with the film industry working as a costume designer where she discovered that she was more that a costume creator.

BV was trained in Evelyn College and added to her knowledge through other courses in textile, coloring and manipulating fabrics. The last being what she specifies in with her designs. She purchases primarily cotton then manipulates the fabric by adding color and using the tie and dye technique to create designs such as below.

She is also a member of the Association of Fashion Designers in Kenya (AFAD) which is a professional fashion organization created and designed to prodive aspiring fashion designers a beginnin and assist in advancing their careers in the industry. AFAD “works to establish best practices in the industry by raising awareness on the need for excellence and high standards.” See website here.

If there one thing we can say about Betty Vanetti, is that she is not only passionate about designing but also about the changing face of the Kenyan fashion industry. She shared with us her candid views on the Kenyan fashion industry and its growth.

“The European market is for Europe and the American market is the American market. Here in Kenya, we have our own unique market. We need to tap into that.”

She jumped right in to discuss the industry before anything else and we were all too excited to do so with her. She began by telling us that

“The fashion industry in the country never existed before really. It has really started to grow now. The fashion designers who existed before did not know exactly how to handle the fashion industry before and the society did not know what a designer was. They did not really dress for fashion. This is the time now that the society in Kenya has started to dress for fashion and appreciating it more.”

She went on to say how the industry is changing faster than ever, with more and more people interested in fashion designers in Kenya and to be dressed by them. There is definitely a new generation spurring up and standing out in the way they dress and by whom they are dressed. This shift, she continues, happened because of a shift in the society itself.

“Everything has a process. The process of the Kenyan fashion industry is that the interest from society has shifted. How it is now is very different from before.”

She added that the fashion industry and being a designer is the type of profession where you cannot make it on your own. “If we don’t come together as designers as a strength and force, we wont be able to grow.” This is the type of industry where you must have togetherness to break through.

Design for Safari Fashion Week

Photos taken in studio collection

Photos taken in studio


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“Forget about the name. Invest in appropriate knowledge. In clothing, it all starts from pattern.” What society needs are clothes that fit well. If one hasn’t achieved a good pattern then concentrate on that first. Constructing pattern takes a lot of knowledge. “Patter Pattern and nothing else.” This is what is important for upcoming designers to understand.

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