Exclusive Interview With Kevin Outa Founder and Design Director of Deep End Clothing
If you were given the opportunity to work with local or international fashion designer who
will you love to work with?
Adele Dejak. Her designs and what she creates are just wow. I believe that the way she conveys Africa in her products is what every Kenyan brand aims to achieve.
What are your thoughts on fashion in Africa?
I believe that fashion in Africa is getting noticed more and more on the global stage because African brands have embraced their authenticity and true nature. This means that even major players in the African fashion scene have started investing more in products that embrace their culture.
Therefore, when we present our designs on the global stage, they are truly representative of our African culture. This gives us an even better standing and we earn more respect from our peers globally. In totality, it creates an opening for African fashion brands to thrive worldwide.
How are African fashion designers influencing fashion in the western world?
With the growth and expansion of the internet, it is becoming even easier for African designers to share their products online. This expands their reach globally, increasing their spheres of influence. I would say that the number of people from the western world who are interested in African products is increasing significantly. There are also fashion brands in the western world
that embrace African-inspired designs and prints in some of their collections.
We cannot ignore the role that fashion designers from different parts of the world play in the global scene. As African designers, it is our responsibility to package our products in a manner that highlights our way of life and show the world what we can do. When we constantly share this with the rest of the world, it gives people a deeper understanding of our diverse cultures. This, in turn, help increase our influence as more people want to learn about our brands that support African culture.
What can the African fashion industry learn from the western world?
Emphasis in quality; both in service and the products offered. This has been deeply ingrained in my mind, that I feel it is the single most significant thing we can learn. The reason is because how you treat your customers (both returning and potential) will reflect on your ability to retain them.
The quality of your products will also determine just how people interested in your brand will
interact with you. When your brand exemplifies quality in service, as well as develop high-quality and durable
products, it becomes easier to build a trusting community around your brand.
Over the last few years have you noticed any significant changes with the African fashion
Creative autonomy. This means that more and more people are taking control of their own fashion sense. The focus has slowly shifted from people buying well-known names to them focusing on creating or working with fashion brands that can address their specific needs. This kind of shift has been necessitated by the need to be unique.
When you create something you love, you will be more comfortable and confident, and this will show in how you present yourself. This is what should form the basis of any brand. This is what I have built my brand on, and is what will dictate the emerging trends in the African fashion industry in the coming few years.
When dealing with Africa is it important for the fashion world to be ethical and socially
responsible, and put in place strong corporate social responsibility governance?
Yes, I believe this is very important. When building a brand from scratch, there are many ethical and social considerations. It is important to fully understand your base of operations, so that you do not engage in activities that might be detrimental to the success and progress of your fashion brand, and the society at large.
However, it is important to understand that although different societies align with different values, this should not act as an impediment to our overall objective as creatives, which is to express ourselves through what we make. I believe there is a way to balance your values as a fashion house, with those of your society. It should not be a case where one supersedes the other, but a level ground for you to reconcile the aspects of social and ethical responsibility with the
values of your brand.