It’s that time of year when we look back and review how 2014 went, what we loved, what we didn’t love, what we would like to improve on and what we want to remember and carry with this. This year, we had had the pleasure and honor of meeting exceptional fashion designers in Kenya, who have shared their journeys, their challenges, their successes and their resulting products.
Let’s begin this journey by taking you back to some of the foremost long standing fashion designers in Kenya whose interviews revealed more than just their journey but also invaluable insight and advice on the fashion industry in Kenya.
From the wise words and experience of John Kaveke who spoke truthfully about his sabbatical, the fashion industry and what needs to change in Kenya. In two parts, Kaveke told us that the danger he faced by not making clothes as per client orders is “ in reality, people are scared of fashion designers because they assume you are expensive, unreachable and therefore rule you out.” John Kaveke has been out of the fashion scene for about a year to step back and analyze the way forward for his brand. He also told us “right now, the international focus is on Africa and people are looking here for inspiration.” As an upcoming designer and someone who seeks to understand what it has taken for the fashion industry to be where it is…
Sailing through to the Kooroo Fashion Brand whose living mantra is “be proud of your heritage and of who you are.” Kooroo is the brainchild of Hebret Lakew from Ethiopia and Enid Lanez from Uganda whose work ethic and creativity is evident. “We have to always bring something new, from a creative point of view, you want to change change and try something different,” they told us. They explained in insightful detail the qualms and challenges designers face in Kenya from material to the misunderstanding of the differences between a designer and a tailor.
NJEE MUTURI: ZANJI ART
Speaking of long standing fashion designers whose experience and creativity has stood the test of time, we have to take you back to the one and only jewelry designer who turns silverware into silver wear. Njee Muturi, the designer of wearable art from forks, knives and spoons with each piece unique, masterfully crafted and personally signed by him. Having done this for over 20 years, Njee told us “I am into art. An art is so difficult. You will have to sacrifice everything. Its not about fame.” One of his biggest of advice was investing in knowledge and skills.