For Ogake, fashion was an easy natural choice for. She recalls her days in primary school when drawing was the name of the game. “Everyone drew, boys drew cars and the girls drew princess dresses. When everyone broke off I still drew those things at the back of my math’s book which got me in trouble,” she laughed.
Being petite in frame, Ogake was inspired to create clothes for that body type. Ogake was fortunate after high school to take Advanced Subsidiuary (AS), first part of A levels, to dabble in law and art as she made a decision which one to go for. Her talent spoke for itself. She took her sketch book to the University Fairs that took place in Sarit Centre and got an offer from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Kent. She never looked back. Being there opened her mind and gave her the exposure to improve her skills as a fashion designer. Although Ogake Mosomi studied commercial fashion, her journey too her elsewhere as her passion lay elsewhere.
“The overall cost of investment is really high and that is why I wouldn’t get into ready to wear collections right now.” Ogake is making bridal and accessory collections. Bridal is the thing she, as she puts it, “love love love.” Her journey into making bags was truly an environmentally friendly concern.“We had so much leftover fabric from doing previous jobs and I would feel really bad throwing them away so we started with small bags and used the scraps we had.” Initially experimental, testing out the different material matches and leather incorporation, it transformed into a series of bags that have been nothing but a hit with her clients. Ogake is equally excited about it and making accessories has its perks. “The good thing with accessories, they are no fittings and people really appreciate the bags.”
“In Kenya, some people still don’t understand what fashion really is.” Fashion and design, she continues, have great potential in this country and can contribute to the growth of our economy. As a result of this misunderstanding, she says, there is not as much investment in that design education. It is going to be some time before people can truly embrace and understand the fashion market in Kenya but persistence does pay, she notes.
“To be a fashion designer, there has to be a signature to your work.”
If Ogake could provide her advice to upcoming designers would be to research, learn and put in place structures without forgetting that in the end, it is a business. Consistency is key, she states, so we should try to hone in on what we are good at and develop and perfect fewer products rather than try to do everything. At the end of the day as well, the bills need to be paid so it’s a balance. “I have learnt this over the few years I have been experimenting and now I am trying to focus on a few things to make them better.”
“To be a fashion designer, there has to be a signature to your work.” She further advises that although “we are trying to make ends meet, at some point we need to sacrifice, even turn down some jobs that do not fit into the portfolio, so that people begin to know your signature and your ethos.” All in all, Ogake Mosomi, fashion designer and teacher couldn’t be more excited about the way the industry in Kenya is growing and is looking forward to what next.