Exclusive Interview With Kevin Outa Founder and Design Director of Deep End Clothing
My name is Kevin Outa, and I am a self-taught photographer and designer based in Nairobi,Kenya, specializing in creative portraiture, fashion photography, and food photography. I also hold a Bachelors’ degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Nairobi (but I haven’t used it so much)
Deep End Clothing is Nairobi-based fashion enterprise that focuses on the creation of Africanized Denimwear. This means that we create both clothes and bags from denim and a mix of different African fabrics.
Can you describe Deep end Clothing, and the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about it
or the market it is in?
Deep End Clothing is an online fashion house that specializes in the creation of bespoke denim clothing items such as bags, jackets, dresses, shirts, and trousers, among others. We make custom designs using denim as the primary fabric, mixing it with either Ankara, khaki, or the legendary Maasai shuka.
We also specialize in developing branded items, such as t-shirts. As for the market segment, Deep End Clothing targets the middle to luxury segment. This is because we mainly concentrate on developing custom designs as per the specifications of our
clients. However, this does not mean that we do not create our own designs; we do, as a means to show our potential customers what they can expect when they choose to work with us.
Some of Deep End Clothing Collections check out their Instagram page @deependke
What were you doing before Deep end Clothing, and what motivated you to start the
Before Deep End Clothing, I was still at the university and navigating my early years as a photographer. In 2016, when I originally conceived the idea of this brand, I saw it as a means to expand my reach as a photographer. This is because I believed that it would enable me to interact with more people who could be interested in my services as a photographer.
After a lot of mental and financial push and pull, we finally created our first designs in September 2017. Many things have changed for me and for Deep End Clothing since that time. The focus has shifted from me wanting to reach more people as a photographer, to me wanting to build a Kenyan fashion brand that will stand out and redefine the current wave of African street style. We might still be a long way off, but there is no better way to dream than to go for something that
seems out of your reach.
What techniques do you use? Tell us about the process.
As a brand that creates both bags and clothing, we usually rely on the services of two very talented tailors to actualize our bespoke designs; one for the bags, and another for the clothing items. Most of our designs are usually hand-drawn, but I also use inspiration from platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.
This helps me know what designs are currently trending, and how I can remake them into something that is truly representative of Deep End Clothing. Once I develop the designs or receive some recommendations from a client, I have to decide and inform them on which material mix would work best for that particular design. For clothing items, I usually have to meet with the clients so that I can get their specific measurements.
The next step is to liaise with our tailors and see if the designs are workable. If they are, then the next step is to source the materials (which I do personally), and deliver them to the tailor, depending on whether it is a bag or piece of clothing. On average, it takes about a week to create and deliver the designs to our clients.
How did you learn/master this technique and why do you use it?
Like most things in this life, I learnt and understood the design and creation process on the fly. It helps that I work with highly-skilled tailors who guide me and have helped me grow and develop Deep End Clothing into the brand that it is today. There have been a few times where I have made mistakes and they laughed at me so much, but I have come to see the importance of taking it all in stride and using such experiences to learn more.
It also helps to laugh at yourself! I feel that this method works best for our brand because we are still relatively young, and the ability to create bespoke items makes it easier for me to control the output in terms of quality and client specification. We stick to this method because it allows us to focus on producing high-quality denim designs that will interest our potential customer base, by targeting them directly.We do not want to rush into mass producing substandard products due to lack of production capacity.
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