Barbara Kiama founder and Creative Head Designer at Barbara Accessories and her passion for Persons with albinism
What do you think about the Africa Fashion Industry, Do African designers support each other?
The African Fashion Industry is a force to be reckoned with in the global fashion industry. We have our own unique style and approach to fashion that cannot be ignored. It’s about our vibrant fabrics, our culture, the beautiful people of colour and curves.
Unfortunately, I do not know any African designers personally but I do believe there are those who support other designers it’s only we’ve not heard about it. I did not get to where I am in my career by myself, a few Kenyan designers helped me along the way and I would gladly do the same for others.
What’s the future of Africa Fashion in terms of design and growth?
We all know Africa is the next frontier. The African economy is steadily growing and 60% of Africans are below the age of 25, those are our future clientele. According to the Euro Monitor, African fashion is worth $31 Billion Dollars and it’s still growing. Today’s African appreciates products Made in Africa than ever before which is boosting the African economy.
In terms of Design, we’ll definitely see more advanced prints and fabrics. Currently, there is a growing trend of African prints on silk and chiffon. There are also those who are trying to combine African prints into athleisure. We’ll definitely see more of this trend on light and heavy weight fabric in future.
Name any 5 fashion accessory designer you know from Kenya?
Easy! Karay Murage, Kangadelic, Vee Fashion House Kenya, Wazi Wazi Kenya, Embody Accessories.
Where do you see yourself in 3 Years?
In three years, I intend to partner with two local, regional and international retailers to help market Barbara Accessories within their platforms. I also have plans to partner with vocational training centers in Kangemi to train the youth on the production of our jewellery pieces. Lastly, I intend to increase the number of students at my private jewellery classes at the Nairobi Art Centre.
What are your achievements?
Supporting people with Albinism through fashion over the last five years and seeing the impact it’s had in accepting people with Albinism in our society especially in the creative sector is my biggest achievement. I encourage African creative to continue supporting people with Albinism and help put an end to the ignorance in our society.
Clocking 10 years in the Fashion Industry is a BIG achievement. Running a business is not a walk in the park, I’ve seen people quit because of the number of obstacles in your way. I’m grateful for making it this far.
Finally, releasing two collections in 2018 equipped with a video add to mark 10 years in business has been a great accomplishment.