Kibera Fashion Week: Kenya’s Largest Urban Slum Experiences Fashion Week
Kibera Fashion Week: The Hits Kenya’s Largest Urban Slum, Overlooking the rusted tin roofs of Kibera, the largest urban slum in the Kenyan capital, towering models march down a three-meter (10-foot) high runway.
In the center of the vast area, Kibera Fashion Week is taking place for the second time, and the venue is filled.
On Saturday, hundreds of people from Kibera and other parts of the city watched the varied collections float by for six hours, punctuated by pop music performances.
The designer Avido, who debuted the first show last year, claims that Kibera is “full of style.”
The 27-year-old, whose real name is David Ochieng, claims that many don’t see it because they associate Kibera with post-election violence, prostitution, and drug usage.
“We want to demonstrate that this place has style and innovation. Opportunities are what we lack here. Avido was raised in Kibera, a city of around 250,000 people, where he currently works.
Global artists like Bruno Mars and Beyonce have been drawn to his designs.
The event has brought together 11 ideas from 376 candidates with a wide variety of styles employing cotton, jute, wool, pearls, and even metal. It boasts a range of relationships with the Goethe Institute, the European Union, Nairobi Design, and the Masai Mbili group.
A “Mad Max” post-apocalyptic aesthetic was chosen by designer Pius Ochieng, who is not related to Avido.
The 26-year-old gathered scrap metal from streets and dumps, including computer motherboards, spark plugs, LED lighting, chains, and springs.
He created a 15 square meter piece illuminated with rose, green, and blue neons at home and set it in one of Kibera’s back alleys after sewing them onto clothing.
Helen Wanjiru, who was raised in Nairobi’s less-than-affluent Kawangware neighborhood, has huge pockets running the length of her garments, including the legs.
The 26-year-old, who switched from computer processing to fashion, added, “The pockets are big, but they are empty.”
“It is an analogy — a lot of youths in Kenya, they have education, they have ideas but they don’t get jobs because there is no opportunity.”
Unlike frequently staid Western events, Fashion Week is totally different. The predominantly young audience applauds the models loudly and saves a quiet welcome for the designers as they enter the runway.
The event gives local fashionistas an opportunity to showcase their talents, frequently by dressing extravagantly.
The haute-couture fashion world, however, is still far away in a nation where people are accustomed to wearing second-hand items and where pricey imports dominate the market.
Avido desires a change in it.
“Many people here have only seen fashion shows on TV,” he added. “We want to demonstrate to the public what fashion is.
“Parents and other people used to believe that art was not involved in fashion and design.
They used to believe that if you worked in the fashion and design industry, you were similar to a tailor, and if you worked in modeling, they might have thought you were a prostitute.
Violet Omulo, the project manager, claimed that she went to the exhibition “to chill, have fun, and discover upcoming designers.”African fashion is distinct and on the rise.
We must advertise it through such events to let people know that we are capable of being creative and that it is not just about Paris or Milan.
“Kenya, also in Africa in general, has talented designers,” she stated.
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Content courtesy of Barrons, Kiber Fashion Week & NFH