Exclusive Interview With Kevin Outa Founder and Design Director of Deep End Clothing
What challenges did you face?
As a young brand, I would say the biggest challenge for us was to put our products out there. When you develop new products, there is always that nagging feeling at the back of your mind. For me, this is because you start to think of how people will respond to you and your brand, and whether people will really like your product enough to buy it. As a creative, this also happens
when I finish working on a new photography project.
It happens every time I develop a new design. Over time, I have come to understand that you will never really know the potential of what you hold, until you put it out there. I still struggle with this, but it is not actually an obstacle you can clear, but a journey that you have to go through every day. Another challenge is trying to get people to understand the value of locally-made bespoke items.
There are many times I have encountered potential customers that want me to lower prices just because the saw a cheaper alternative elsewhere. This is very frustrating because they do not see the hard work, effort, and emotion that goes into building a Kenyan brand. Every time we put a single product out there, it bears the soul of up to five people; the designer, the person who sells the fabric, the tailor, the brand holder, and you. We all work together to ensure that your as our client get what you want.
For me, bespoke clothing carries more value than mass produced items because it gives you the added luxury of buying something that you have actually contributed to its development (financially and design-wise) and fits you perfectly.
Some of Bags collections from Deep End Clothing
How did the obstacles make you feel?
Angry. Frustrated. Depressed. Like our brand is not worthy. There were times where I felt like giving up altogether. These are things that we feel on a regular basis, but there is no other alternative than to push on. That is why our brand continues to produce designs for our wonderful community.
What were your achievements?
Haha! It’s really hard to decide on a particular moment, because the most notable achievement for me is to be able to meet new people through this brand; people that have unwaveringly built us up and support us. I would consider this as one of the things we treasure deeply.
I would say the best memory was when Deep End Clothing got the chance to exhibit some of our designs at last year’s edition of the PAWA Festival. It was an awesome experience to put our brand out there, while interacting with denim enthusiasts and fellow creatives.
There was also a small disagreement with the County Government of Nairobi during the event, but thankfully, it was sorted out.
What’s your take about Kenya fashion industry?
The Kenyan fashion industry is a very diverse space with everyone having a particular taste that sets them apart. I see some people going back to retro styles and thrifted outfits, and others getting more into designing and creating their own outfits.
This is very exciting because it means that new designers and brands have the opportunity to develop a following for their products. The diversified nature of Kenyan fashion means that the industry is growing at a steady pace. There are exciting opportunities coming up all around that we cannot wait to get a hold of!