Home » Designer Spotlight » Exclusive Interview With Isabel Nyamgero Designer behind Iss By Iss Studio

Exclusive Interview With Isabel Nyamgero Designer behind Iss By Iss Studio

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First ever creation you made?

Isabel Nyamgero:  i am not sure but I think it was an Aline skirt I stitched when I finished form four it was handmade I remember when we are in school we used pattern but when in school we always say teacher has said but when I left school I remembered that skirt which was grayish brown navy blue in color and whenever I would  make a re-  collection that skirt was always in my mind when  I joined campus I took that skirt and cut it but I don’t even remember where it went  don’t remember whether I gave it out, cause the jewelry came later.

What challenges do you face as designer from Africa?

Isabel Nyamgero: ohh  lets start from there that is why I do not do made to measure, because in Kenya I do not know if it is in other countries  but In Nigeria and south Africa I think they have a better chance, but in Kenya we are not protected by the copy right for designs but also Kenyans do not appreciate you will do something nice you use your intellectual knowledge and you will do something quality get it out in the market the next week someone has imitated with a cheaper quality fabric, cheap quality stitching , ill-fitting designs and it  is design Kenyans don’t mind buying that, because a designer,

I  would do a piece and I do very a small mark up and it will still be higher than the cheap quality, and people  will tell you the stuff is very nice but it is very expensive, I remember there was a time I did a piece of jewelry  for someone we agreed on the amount because I do for the bridal party’s I agreed for all of them to do for 800 instead for 1000 that was for a particular bead, when I was doing the delivery to her because she wanted lower than that but I refused and she asked it is not 600  am like the price was 1200 but because they were many I did 800 yes you requested but it can’t go lower than that, “those things of yours I can even go down to Kamukunji and buy at a cheaper price”

they do not  appreciate coz I am like there are intellectual properties involved here because what I do with those things I look at what you are wearing and  came up with a design and I will make a piece from there I am not even charge for my intellectuals knowledge and that is the challenge we get,

because Kenyans do not appreciate at all they will  look at it but for me I appreciating in the sense like they like but for me I also look at it is the way like when you like something it’s like buying a car it’s like even  when you buy a Toyota or Mercedes people who love Mercedes will always buy Mercedes,

I love my eyes even on cheaper  option it’s called appreciating the quality and the work you put into it in that piece you have put on that piece but Kenyans want to say it’s nice and they will go buy down town, they will not want to build also the government do not protect us and even people themselves they are not supportive at all and that’s is why I do not do made to measure because you do something for someone they come complaining why don’t I look like  the picture  it doesn’t fit well  and they even refuse to pay or they pay you half and they complain so for me with regard fashion I do refarbing, styling , of the shelf because made to measure actually most times I made to measure,

I have never made money i even wonder whether other designers make money on made to measure , but Kenya is not very supportive most of the time I concentrate mostly on marketing outside and depend on communicating on people and friends and request them to help me do this or that, and for this it has really affected me because for very long time,

I will not get in the market I will make pieces and wear them and one for someone and and I will ask myself I put them in social media even if I put I will not be appreciated so this has really pulled me down people will complain about the pricing and I said you know if I am going to put the pricing down I will not breaking even then why do it and even before I started In 2010 and even before that  out of the passion,

at some point there are years I would say I  I am not doing it this year I am tired of Kenyans but because my passion is too big  its my oxygen, its what I eat  what I breathe otherwise that is what keeps going back  otherwise I would be like any other person looking for a  desk  job so basically those are the challenges that have  affected  my company.

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