Who is Barbara Kiama?
Barbara Kiama is a passionate, ambitious and resilient Fashion Designer, Fashion Lecturer and self-taught jewellery designer with ten years’ experience in the Kenyan Fashion Industry. I believe in building networks in the fashion industry, mentoring young designers and letting them learn from my mistakes so when they start their own businesses, they work smart not hard.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a fashion designer?
I loved watching the old TNT movies growing up. I was about 10 years old but I was obsessed with the 50’s and 60’s fashion. It was so cool compared to the 90’s fashion honestly speaking. I remember trying to sketch the A-line strapless dresses that were always on TNT. A few years later, I started ripping my old clothes and trying to redo them. When I got to high school I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. The best outfit I ever made doing the school holidays was a pink and beige destiny’s child kind of outfit made out of two of my bathing towels.
Which Year did your start your brand Barbara Accessories and Why?
I founded Barbara Accessories right after graduation from fashion school back in 2008. Unfortunately, I couldn’t further my studies abroad due to the lack of finances and fashion scholarships are extremely rare so I decided to keep myself busy and that’s how I started Barbara Accessories.
Some of Barbara Accessories Collections you can buy them here www.barbara-accessories.com
Why did you choose this career?
I had the passion, I was good at it but most importantly, I identified the markets need for custom made products. Back in 2008, the brand begun as a custom made jewelry brand. It all started with a necklace I made back in fashion school. I showed it to my close family members who showed it to their friends who then wanted a replica. A few months later, they’d give me one of their necklaces or a pair of earrings they’d want replicated in a different colours and I had to figure it out, which I did! My custom made services expanded from necklaces and earrings to bracelets, belts and eventually custom made apparel.
Tell us about your line. What was your inspiration for this collection?
My clothing line, emphasizes on Simplicity, Sophistication and Functionality. It’s the type of outfit you can wear to work on a Monday, attend a cocktail on a Thursday, run your errands on a Saturday and wear to church on a Sunday.
My new collection is called Independent. It’s about the biggest obstacle we face in life, which is People. We have to leave and work with malicious people who want to prove that they are in a position of power and can inconvenience you whenever they like. We all know people who’ve been fired from their jobs not because they’re not qualified but because someone in a higher position wanted to prove a point that they are the Boss. My collection was inspired by a cancer patient called Rose, who was wrongfully fired from her job and had to redo her cancer treatment all over again and as we all know, cancer treatments are very expensive. Because Rose is a genuinely nice person who’s built contacts within the cancer space in Kenya, she’s not paying a single cent of the treatment. When the voice in the video add says, no matter who you are or what you’ve gone through, I’m taking to Rose and everyone else who’ve gone through a similar situation. Whether you’ve lost your job, you have to deal with stupid office politics, you’ve had to resign from your job for whatever reason, you have to learn to leave on your feet and not on your knees. Life doesn’t get any easier, you get tougher.
Read more on the next page….