Fashion Weeks in Kenya – food for thought!

Fashion weeks as we known of them generally are all about getting to see the show, being seen in the shows, the glamour of it all and just a little bit more. Be that as it may, there is a fundamental real reason behind fashion weeks. These allow fashion designers, brands and fashion houses to showcase their latest collection for the new season and for buyers and the media to get first glance of the latest trends. Most importantly, these events are to let the industry know what is new and in that season and what is out. Fashion weeks drive the industry, the buying power and the market with a trickle down effect to the consumers at all levels.

With the Kenyan fashion industry booming, there is also a surge of fashion events popping up everywhere. There was an article by Carol Odero on 11 August 2013 in the Sunday Nation entitled “why the fashion industry matters” where she brought up something quite revealing of the industry events in Kenya. This is what she said:

“This month [August] alone there are three fashion weeks. What the hell? Fashion weeks are business opportunities where buyers and retailers come to look at the merchandise. But not in Kenya. Our fashion shows are fillers in the programme right after Sarakasi Dancers…using generic fashion shows as entertainment jades the market to what fashion represents: a business platform.”

“…Our fashion shows are fillers in the programme right after Sarakasi Dancers…”

We couldn’t agree more. We are incredibly excited that the industry is booming the way it is and it’s marvelous that we have taken on such great projects as to put on these shows, which are no easy feat. However, I would add to Carol Odero’s statement that two of those three fashion weeks took place on the same weekend and on the same day. Kenya Fashion Week took place on the same day as Day 2 Nairobi Fashion Week. Hmmm….

This happenstance is only revealing of two things. First of all, it doesn’t seem that the true nature and reasoning of fashion weeks is really being considered when they are…well…put on. And secondly, it is also a testament to the fact that there is quite a bit of individuality in the industry and not a lot of communication. The coincidence of these two events is perhaps a big faux pas simply because, we as the guests and consumers, were forced to pick and choose between these events. Imagine if they had collaborated on this one to make an actual fashion week– from Monday to Sunday or even…had them on separate weeks. Just a thought!

Don’t want to be Captain Hindsight on this one but it could be something to consider for the future of Kenyan fashion weeks-communication and togetherness in the industry.

What do you think?

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