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Monday 24th of June 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

The Changing Face of Prom in Ugandan High Schools

Prom, a hallmark event in the lives of secondary school students, has seen a significant transformation in Uganda. Traditionally, prom was a relatively low-key affair, but over the years, it has evolved into a grand celebration that reflects changing societal norms, cultural influences, and the growing importance of social media. This evolution mirrors broader trends in the country’s education system and social landscape.

Increasing Popularity and Extravagance

In the past, prom in Ugandan secondary schools was a simple event with modest decorations and basic entertainment. However, today’s proms have become much more elaborate, mirroring Western influences and global trends. Schools now invest significantly in creating memorable experiences, often hiring professional event planners, decorators, and entertainers. Venues are chosen for their ambiance and capacity to host grand celebrations, and themes range from classic elegance to contemporary chic.

 

Fashion and Attire

Fashion has become a central aspect of prom in Uganda. Students now view prom as an opportunity to showcase their personal style and make a statement. Long, elegant gowns and tailored suits are the norm, with many students opting for custom-made outfits. This shift reflects a desire to emulate global fashion trends and present a polished, sophisticated image. Schools like Gayaza High School have instituted dress codes to ensure that students maintain a level of decency and propriety. As a school representative stated, “We dictate that they must have a long, decent dress—that is the standard now at Gayaza because we want them to present themselves as ladies.”

Role of Social Media

The advent of social media has had a profound impact on the nature of prom in Ugandan secondary schools. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are flooded with prom photos and videos, turning the event into a highly anticipated social media spectacle. This digital exposure has raised the stakes, encouraging students to go all out in their preparations. The need to capture the perfect prom moment has led to greater investment in professional photography and videography.

Cultural Sensitivity and Modern Values

Prom in Uganda has had to navigate the delicate balance between modern values and cultural sensitivity. While the event increasingly incorporates elements of global pop culture, there is a conscious effort to maintain cultural respect and integrity. This is particularly evident in dress codes and behavior guidelines. Schools are mindful of how their students are portrayed both within and outside the school community, aiming to uphold the institution’s reputation and the student’s dignity.

Economic Considerations

The growing extravagance of prom has also brought economic considerations to the forefront. While some families can afford the high costs associated with modern proms, others may find it financially burdensome. Schools and communities are becoming more aware of this disparity and some have introduced measures to ensure inclusivity. This includes subsidizing tickets, providing rental options for attire, or organizing fundraisers to support students who may not have the means to fully participate.

Educational and Social Impact

Prom is more than just a glamorous event; it plays a significant role in the social development of students. It provides a platform for students to practice social etiquette, build confidence, and celebrate their academic achievements. Schools often use prom as an opportunity to teach important life skills, such as planning, budgeting, and social interaction. As the event becomes more prominent, its educational and developmental potential is increasingly recognized.

The changing face of prom in Ugandan secondary schools reflects broader societal shifts and the dynamic interplay between tradition and modernity. What was once a modest celebration has transformed into a major social event, influenced by global trends, cultural values, and the pervasive reach of social media. As schools navigate these changes, they aim to create an inclusive, respectful, and memorable experience that celebrates the achievements and potential of their students. This evolution signifies not only a shift in how prom is celebrated but also an adaptation to the changing aspirations and realities of Ugandan youth.

Content Courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Blazing a Trail: The Enduring Legacy of Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid

Blazing a trail is the standard operating procedure for Iman, a supermodel, businesswoman, and activist whose impact continues to resonate with current and future generations. Her influence is so profound that it holds these generations in a kind of reverent awe. Through three insightful conversations with contemporary trailblazers Keke Palmer, Precious Lee, and Aurora James—each carrying Iman’s torch in their own unique ways—Iman delves into what it truly means to be an icon for the ages.

The Supermodel: Redefining Beauty Standards

Iman’s journey as a supermodel began in the 1970s, a time when the fashion industry was not as diverse as it is today. Her striking features and regal presence quickly made her a favorite among designers and photographers. But beyond her physical beauty, it was her intelligence, poise, and resilience that set her apart. Iman not only broke barriers for black women in fashion but also redefined beauty standards worldwide. She used her platform to challenge stereotypes and advocate for greater inclusivity within the industry.

In her conversation with Keke Palmer, a multi-talented actress and singer known for her advocacy and authenticity, Iman reflects on the importance of representation. She emphasizes how seeing someone who looks like you in positions of power and influence can inspire and empower. “It’s not just about being seen,” Iman tells Palmer, “but about being seen as multifaceted and capable.”

The Businesswoman: Building Empires and Opportunities

Beyond the runway, Iman has proven herself as a shrewd businesswoman. She launched her own cosmetics line, IMAN Cosmetics, in 1994, targeting women of color who were often overlooked by mainstream beauty brands. Her business acumen and understanding of her market allowed her to create a successful brand that catered to a diverse clientele long before the concept of inclusivity became a trend.

During her dialogue with Precious Lee, a pioneering plus-size model and advocate for body positivity, Iman discusses the importance of creating spaces and opportunities for marginalized groups. “It’s about more than filling a gap in the market,” she says. “It’s about recognizing a need and addressing it with authenticity and respect.” This conversation underscores Iman’s role as a trailblazer not just in modeling but in entrepreneurship as well.

The Activist: Using Her Voice for Change

Iman’s activism has been a cornerstone of her career. She has used her voice to advocate for numerous causes, from human rights to environmental issues. Her commitment to social justice is evident in her philanthropic work and her public statements on issues that matter. Iman’s activism is not performative; it is deeply rooted in her experiences and her desire to make the world a better place.

In her exchange with Aurora James, the founder of the 15 Percent Pledge and a visionary designer, Iman elaborates on the responsibility that comes with visibility and influence. “Being an icon means using your platform for good,” she explains. “It’s about leveraging your influence to bring about meaningful change.” This discussion highlights how Iman has consistently used her platform to uplift others and fight for equality.

An Icon for the Ages

Iman’s conversations with Keke Palmer, Precious Lee, and Aurora James reveal the many facets of her legacy. She is not just a supermodel, businesswoman, or activist; she is a symbol of resilience, innovation, and empowerment. Each of these women, in their own right, carries forward Iman’s torch, embodying the values and principles she has championed throughout her career.

Iman’s impact is seen in the diversity of the fashion and beauty industries today, in the growing number of women of color entrepreneurs, and in the voices advocating for justice and equality. Her legacy is a testament to the power of perseverance, vision, and unapologetic self-expression.

Through these wide-ranging conversations, Iman unpacks what it truly means to be an icon for the ages: it’s about breaking barriers, creating opportunities, and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps. Her trailblazing path continues to illuminate the way for countless individuals, proving that true icons are timeless, their influence enduring far beyond their own time.

Content courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0: A Confluence of Creativity and Industry Insight

Xa! International, in collaboration with Idozi Collective, proudly presents Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 under the engaging theme “In Conversation With,” featuring renowned fashion industry leaders Ovo Ogufere and Blessing Achu. This exciting event is set to take place on Saturday, June 29th, at the Idozi Collective Studio located at Block 114A, Plot 4, Akiogun Road, Victoria Island.

Event Details

Date and Time:
Saturday, June 29th, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:
Idozi Collective Studio, Block 114A, Plot 4, Akiogun Road, Victoria Island

Registration:
The event is free for all fashion creatives, but prior registration is required to attend.

A Day of Inspiration and Learning

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 is meticulously designed to be both fun and educational, targeting a diverse array of fashion creatives. Attendees will include designers, models, scouts, show producers, press, talent managers, fashion illustrators, makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, stylists, and fashion enthusiasts. The event aims to provide a platform for these creatives to engage in meaningful conversations, share insights, and forge valuable connections.

Key Highlights:

1. Interactive Conversations: Engage with industry experts Ovo Ogufere and Blessing Achu as they share their extensive knowledge and experiences.
2. Q&A Sessions: Gain clarity on pressing industry questions directly from the leaders themselves.
3. Group Discussions: Participate in collaborative discussions to explore new ideas and trends in the fashion world.
4. Networking Sessions: Connect with peers and industry veterans to build lasting professional relationships.
5. Fun Photo Sessions: Capture the moments with fellow creatives and industry icons.
6. Surprises: Enjoy unexpected elements and giveaways throughout the event.

Vision and Purpose

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 was conceived out of a strong desire to give back to society with a specific focus on the fashion industry. The event aims to discover and nurture new talents while providing an invaluable opportunity for rising stars to connect with key industry players. By fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation, the event hopes to contribute to the advancement of the fashion industry in Nigeria.

About the Speakers

Ovo Ogufere
Ovo Ogufere, the CEO of Xa! International, is a multifaceted professional with over two decades of experience in the fashion industry. His roles as a fashion consultant, show producer, talent manager, and entertainment lawyer have made him a pivotal figure in the industry. His insights and guidance have helped shape the careers of numerous fashion creatives.

Blessing Achu
Blessing Achu is the Founder and CEO of 360 Creative Hub. With over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship and business development in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, she has successfully transitioned her skills to the fashion industry. Her passion for fashion and her deep understanding of the industry’s needs led to the creation of 360 Creative Hub. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the Nigerian Student Fashion Design Week, a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs, and an advocate for leadership among young women.

 

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 promises to be an enriching experience for all participants, offering a unique blend of education, inspiration, and networking. This event is an unmissable opportunity for fashion creatives to gain insights from industry veterans, connect with like-minded professionals, and take their careers to the next level. Join us for a day dedicated to the celebration and advancement of fashion in Nigeria.

Register now and be part of this transformative event that is set to leave a lasting impact on the fashion community.

Innovative Threads: An Exclusive Interview with Munyengango Jean De Dieu, Founder of DK Heritage Ltd

Munyengango Jean De Dieu is a Rwandan artist and the innovative founder of DK Heritage Ltd, a fashion house renowned for its unique fusion of traditional African aesthetics and contemporary design. With a deep passion for cultural heritage and modern fashion, Munyengango has carved out a distinctive niche in the fashion industry, earning acclaim for his visionary approach and commitment to empowering African artisans and models.

Born and raised in Rwanda, Munyengango developed an early interest in art and design. His formative years were influenced by Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage, which played a significant role in shaping his artistic vision. From a young age, Munyengango was fascinated by the vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and symbolic meanings embedded in traditional African textiles and attire. This cultural appreciation would later become the cornerstone of his fashion philosophy.

Munyengango’s passion for fashion and design led him to establish DK Heritage Ltd. The brand was created with a mission to celebrate and preserve African cultural heritage while innovatively blending it with contemporary fashion trends. DK Heritage Ltd stands out for its dedication to showcasing the beauty and diversity of African textiles, designs, and craftsmanship.

Ann Mumbi: Brief introduction about yourself and your fashion house (Brand)
Munyengango Jean De Dieu: I am Munyengango Jean De Dieu, a Rwandan artist and the founder of DK Heritage Ltd, a fashion house that blends traditional African aesthetics with modern styles. Our brand is dedicated to celebrating African heritage through bold, innovative designs.

AM: As a fashion designer in Kenya, what are some of the specific challenges you’ve encountered when working with models, and how do you overcome them?
MJDD: One of the significant challenges I face is matching models with the right outfits. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the perfect fit, but we overcome this by holding fittings to ensure each model looks their best in our designs.

AM: Can you discuss the process of selecting models for your fashion shows or campaigns and the criteria you look for in potential collaborators?
MJDD: When selecting models, I consider the outfits and the concept of the event. For collaborations, I look for a shared vision and passion between myself and my partners. It’s crucial that we align on our goals and creative direction.

 

AM: How do you ensure that your designs are inclusive and suitable for a diverse range of body types and sizes?
MJDD: I create designs based on the measurements of our models to ensure inclusivity and suitability for various body types. This approach ensures that everyone looks and feels great in our clothing.

AM: Have you faced any difficulties in finding models who accurately represent the vision and aesthetic of your brand, and how have you addressed this challenge?
MJDD: I haven’t faced significant difficulties because I take the time to select models who can embody our brand’s vision. By working closely with them, we achieve the desired look and feel.

AM: Can you share any strategies you use to foster a positive and collaborative relationship with models during fittings and photoshoots?
MJDD: Open communication is key. I make an effort to converse with my models, motivate them, and discuss their future careers. This builds a positive atmosphere and strengthens our collaboration.

AM: What steps do you take to ensure that the models wearing your designs feel comfortable and confident on the runway or in front of the camera?
MJDD: Comfort and confidence start with the design process. I always consider the comfort of the models when creating outfits, ensuring they can move and perform with ease.

AM: How do you navigate the balance between artistic expression and practical considerations when designing garments for models to wear?
MJDD: Balancing artistic expression with practicality is essential. As an artist, it’s important to merge creativity with functionality, making it easier to produce wearable yet visually striking designs.

AM: Can you discuss the importance of communication and teamwork between fashion designers and models in bringing a collection to life?
MJDD: Effective communication and teamwork are crucial. Models bring our designs to life on the runway, so it’s essential that we share our experiences and work passionately together to achieve the best results.

AM: Have you encountered any issues related to diversity and representation within the modeling industry, and how do you address these concerns in your work?
MJDD: Sometimes models may feel competitive, but as a designer, I encourage teamwork and unity. By fostering a collaborative spirit, we can overcome these challenges and promote diversity.

AM: Can you share any experiences where you’ve had to adapt your designs or styling to accommodate the needs or preferences of models?
MJDD: There have been instances where a model might refuse to wear a chosen outfit. In such cases, we adapt by selecting different attire that suits them better, ensuring they are comfortable and confident.

AM: How do you incorporate feedback from models into your design process, and how does this collaboration influence the final outcome?
MJDD: Models often provide valuable feedback, which I incorporate into my designs. Their input helps refine the final product and ensures that it meets both aesthetic and functional requirements.

AM: Can you discuss the impact of social media on the relationship between fashion designers and models in Kenya?
MJDD: Social media has greatly facilitated connections and collaborations. It allows us to showcase our creativity and reach a wider audience, making it easier to network and promote our work.

AM: What initiatives or changes would you like to see within the Kenyan fashion industry to better support models and designers alike?
MJDD: I would like to see more government support in terms of lower taxes and more opportunities to export our products and services. This would significantly boost the industry.

AM: How do you ensure that the working conditions and treatment of models involved in your projects align with ethical standards and values?
MJDD: I prioritize the health and safety of my models, ensuring that our working environments are safe and comfortable for everyone involved.

AM: Can you share any stories of overcoming challenges or obstacles in your collaborations with models and the lessons you’ve learned from these experiences?
MJDD: There have been times when models arrived late. To solve this, I cover their transport costs, ensuring they arrive on time and we maintain a smooth workflow.

AM: What measures do you take to ensure diversity and inclusivity are reflected not only in your designs but also in the models you choose to represent your brand?
MJDD: I select models of various sizes, typically medium and small, to represent the diverse range of body types and ensure inclusivity in our brand.

AM: How do you address the issue of body image and self-esteem within the modeling industry through your work as a fashion designer?
MJDD: I ensure that the models’ appearances complement the outfits perfectly. Fitting sessions are crucial for addressing body image concerns and boosting self-esteem.

AM: Can you discuss the role of fashion designers in promoting positive body image and self-confidence among models and consumers alike?
MJDD: As a designer, creating outfits that attract and empower audiences can significantly boost the confidence of the wearer. It’s important to design clothing that makes people feel good about themselves.

AM: Have you implemented any specific policies or practices within your brand to support the mental and emotional well-being of models?
MJDD: I haven’t implemented specific policies yet, but I plan to focus on this in the future to ensure our models’ mental and emotional well-being.

AM: Can you share any insights into the process of creating garments that are both visually striking on the runway and practical for models to wear?
MJDD: The process begins with creative design, selecting the right materials and accessories, and taking precise measurements. After completing the outfit, we hold fittings to ensure practicality and visual appeal.

AM: How do you ensure that your designs empower models to express themselves authentically and confidently?
MJDD: My models often express delight in my unique designs, which empowers them to wear the outfits confidently and authentically, making them eager to work with me again.

AM: Can you discuss any instances where you’ve collaborated with models to challenge traditional beauty standards or perceptions of fashion?
MJDD: I create unique outfits for showcases that challenge traditional beauty standards and surprise the audience, promoting a broader acceptance of diverse fashion aesthetics.

AM: What do you hope to achieve through your collaborations with models, and how do you envision the future of fashion modeling in Kenya?
MJDD: I hope to elevate my brand and the modeling industry by fostering collaborations that help both designers and models grow. I envision a future where Kenyan fashion modeling thrives globally.

AM: How can clients contact you, and can you share your contact details and social media handles?
MJDD: Clients can reach me through my social media platforms. I am available on Instagram and Facebook, and they can also approach me directly for collaborations.

AM: Who inspired you, and who do you admire working within the fashion industry in Kenya and internationally?
MJDD:My father is my inspiration. I aspire to work with passionate designers both in Kenya and internationally, continually pushing the boundaries of fashion.

 


DK Heritage Ltd. is more than just a fashion brand; it is a movement that seeks to empower African artisans and models by providing them with a global platform. Munyengango’s vision is to create clothing that tells a story—each piece is meticulously designed to reflect the rich history and vibrant culture of Africa. His designs often feature bold colors, striking patterns, and modern interpretations of traditional African symbols and motifs.

Navigating the fashion industry in Kenya, where DK Heritage Ltd. is based, has not been without its challenges. Munyengango has faced obstacles such as matching models with the right outfits and ensuring inclusivity in his designs. However, his commitment to excellence and innovation has enabled him to overcome these hurdles. Under his leadership, DK Heritage Ltd. has grown to become one of East Africa’s leading fashion brands, with a strong presence in both the local and international markets.

A key aspect of Munyengango’s work is his focus on inclusivity and empowerment. He is dedicated to creating opportunities for models and artisans, ensuring they are fairly represented and appreciated. His approach involves close collaboration with models, taking into account their feedback, and ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in his designs. This has fostered a positive and supportive environment within the DK Heritage Ltd. team.

Munyengango is also committed to giving back to the community. He advocates for government support to reduce taxes and create more opportunities for local designers and models. Looking ahead, he aims to expand DK Heritage Ltd’s reach, further promoting African fashion on the global stage and continuing to innovate in design and production.

Inspired by his father and driven by a passion for fashion, Munyengango admires and seeks to collaborate with other passionate designers both within Kenya and internationally. His goal is to continue learning and growing, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the fashion industry.

Munyengango Jean De Dieu is a visionary leader in the fashion world, dedicated to blending traditional African heritage with modern fashion trends. Through DK Heritage Ltd, he has created a platform that not only showcases the beauty of African culture but also empowers models and artisans. His journey reflects a deep commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and cultural preservation, making him a prominent figure in the African fashion industry.

The interview highlights Munyengango Jean De Dieu’s thoughtful approach to fashion design and collaboration with models, providing insights into his brand and vision for the industry.

Content courtesy of DK Heritage Ltd & NFH Digital Team

President William Ruto Inaugurates First Vivo Fashion Store in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia — In a landmark event highlighting African innovation and entrepreneurship, President William Ruto officially opened Vivo Fashion Group’s first U.S. store at Atlanta Station Mall on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. This historic occasion marked a significant milestone for the Kenyan retail fashion giant as it expanded its footprint beyond Africa for the first time.

President Ruto, in his speech, celebrated the achievements of Vivo Fashion Group and its co-founder, Wandia Gichuru. “This is not just a win for Vivo, but for Kenya and Africa as a whole. It showcases the global potential of African brands and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our continent forward,” he remarked. “The powerful story of Vivo Fashion Group demonstrates the impact of visionary enterprise and spotlights the role of women in leadership, business, and entrepreneurship.”

Wandia Gichuru, the CEO of Vivo Fashion Group, co-founded the company 13 years ago. President Ruto praised the company for its remarkable journey and growth, stating that it is now one of East Africa’s largest fashion brands. “The bold colors, striking patterns, vibrant textures, and meticulous designs that surround us reflect the diversity and rich history of Kenya and the African continent. Your designs beautifully merge traditional and modern African styles and symbolism,” Ruto added.

Vivo Fashion Group designs and manufactures all its products in Kenya and operates 25 outlets throughout the region, employing more than 380 individuals. Ruto also highlighted Vivo’s successful participation in the Nairobi Securities Exchange Ibuka Program. “Through the program, Vivo should find it easier to access various equity or debt capital markets to finance business growth and further development,” he stated.

The grand opening in Atlanta was a vibrant affair, attended by a diverse audience of dignitaries, business leaders, and fashion enthusiasts. The store’s entrance was adorned with Kenyan flags and vibrant African patterns, creating an atmosphere that paid homage to Vivo’s roots while embracing its new international chapter.

Wandia Gichuru expressed her gratitude and excitement at the event. “To see our brand, which started in my living room in Nairobi, now opening a store in Atlanta, is truly a dream come true. This moment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion of our entire team and the support of our loyal customers,” Gichuru said, her voice filled with emotion.

Guests at the opening were treated to a showcase of Vivo’s latest collection, which seamlessly blends African style with contemporary fashion trends. The new store features a wide array of clothing and accessories, emphasizing Vivo’s commitment to quality, comfort, and affordability.

President Ruto’s state visit to the United States, at the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden, is the first by a Kenyan president in two decades and the first by an African leader in 16 years. The President’s visit began at the Atlanta University Center and will continue in Washington, DC, where he is scheduled to meet with President Biden to discuss trade and security partnerships, including Kenya’s pledge to lead a multinational mission to restore order in Haiti.

The opening of the Vivo store in Atlanta is not just a business expansion; it symbolizes the breaking of barriers and the forging of new paths for African enterprises on the global stage. As Vivo Fashion Group continues to grow, it remains rooted in its mission to empower African women through fashion and to bring the vibrancy of African culture to the world.

Photos by Nesh Maina, Office of the First Lady, Republic of Kenya & NFH Digital Team

The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant: A Triumph of Diversity, Elegance, and Empowerment

Celebrating Africa’s Beauty and Resilience

Nairobi, the vibrant heart of East Africa, recently played host to an extraordinary event that captured the essence of African beauty, resilience, and empowerment. On April 20th, 2024, Delight Technical College became the epicenter of glamour and grace as The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant unfolded in all its glory. This prestigious occasion brought together contestants from across the continent, each representing the epitome of beauty, grace, and empowerment.

More than just a showcase of aesthetics, The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant served as a celebration of diversity and resilience. Contestants hailing from various backgrounds and cultures united on one stage, weaving together the rich tapestry of Africa’s heritage. From the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of the Serengeti, each contestant brought a unique story and a distinct charm to the competition.

The night was a symphony of elegance and talent, as contestants dazzled the audience with their poise and charisma. Against a backdrop of glitz and glamour, the judges faced the formidable task of selecting the winners who would embody the essence of African beauty and grace for the year to come.

The Crowning Moments

After much anticipation and deliberation, the winners were finally announced:

– Face of Africa 2024: Lucy Mueni
–  First Runner-Up: Veronicah Mutheu
–  Second Runner-Up: Sheryne Nkirote

Additionally, special awards were presented to recognize exceptional talent and character:

–  Face of Africa 2024, Face Plus Size: Ramona Njeri Munene
–  Congeniality Award: Vilmer Komora
–  Style Icon Award: Grace Laura

These remarkable individuals not only epitomized beauty but also showcased the depth of talent and character present within Africa’s diverse tapestry.

 

Empowering Dreams, Embracing Individuality

The evening was not just about crowning beauty queens; it was about empowering women to embrace their inner strength and shine brightly in a world that often seeks to dim their light. Through their grace and confidence, the contestants inspired audiences to embrace their own uniqueness and strive for their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they may face.

As the curtains drew to a close on this unforgettable night, The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who attended. It served as a reminder of the power of unity and the celebration of individuality. In a world often divided by differences, this event showcased the beauty that emerges when diversity is celebrated and embraced.

In the heart of Nairobi, Africa’s beauty shone brighter than ever before, leaving a legacy of empowerment and inspiration that will resonate far beyond the glitz and glamour of the stage. The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant not only celebrated Africa’s beauty but also ignited a spark of hope and possibility for generations to come.

 

Content courtesy of Delight Fashion School, The Face Of Africa & NFH Digital Team

The Face Of Africa 2024 International Pageant: Celebrating Diversity, Elegance, And Empowerment

Nairobi, Kenya – April 22, 2024 Nairobi, the vibrant heart of East Africa, bore witness to an extraordinary event as the Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant unfolded in all its grandeur at Delight Technical College. This esteemed occasion, held on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, brought together contestants from across the continent, each embodying the pinnacle of beauty, grace, and empowerment.

The Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant transcends mere aesthetics; it stands as a celebration of diversity and resilience. Contestants hailing from diverse backgrounds and cultures converged on one stage, exemplifying the rich tapestry of Africa’s heritage. From the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of the Serengeti, each contestant brought forth a unique narrative and distinct charm to the competition.

The evening unfolded as a symphony of elegance and talent, with contestants captivating the audience with their poise and charisma. Amidst the glitz and glamour, the judges faced the daunting task of selecting the winners who would epitomize African beauty and grace for the forthcoming year.

In the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, the vibrant pulse of African fashion beats passionately at Delight Fashion School. In the bustling metropolis, where creativity intertwines with tradition, this esteemed institution has once again proven itself as the epitome of sartorial excellence with its highly anticipated annual event, “The Face of Africa 2024”.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the city, the runway at Delight Fashion School illuminated with an aura of anticipation. Fashion enthusiasts, industry insiders, and aspiring designers gathered under one roof to witness the unveiling of Africa’s next top models and the showcase of groundbreaking designs that encapsulate the continent’s rich cultural tapestry.

The event kicked off with a burst of energy as models strutted down the runway, exuding confidence and grace. Each ensemble showcased a fusion of traditional African motifs with contemporary flair, a testament to the school’s commitment to preserving heritage while pushing the boundaries of innovation.

From intricate beadwork inspired by Maasai traditions to bold prints paying homage to the diverse landscapes of the African continent, every garment told a story of identity, resilience, and celebration. Designers spared no expense in experimenting with textures, colors, and silhouettes, resulting in a breathtaking display of creativity that captivated the audience’s imagination.

Following much anticipation and careful deliberation, the esteemed winners were announced:

  • Face of Africa 2024: Lucy Mueni
  • First Runner-Up: Veronicah Mutheu
  • Second Runner-Up: Sheryne Nkirote

The Face of Africa 2024 Winner: Lucy Mueni

 

The Face of Africa 1st Runners Up: Veronicah Mutheu

The Face of Africa 2nd Runners Up: Sheryne Nkirote

In addition to these prestigious titles, special awards were bestowed to acknowledge outstanding talent and character:

  • Face of Africa 2024, Face Plus Size: Ramona Njeri Munene
  • Congeniality Award: Vilmer Komora
  • Style Icon Award: Grace Laura

 

Winner Face of Africa 2024 Face Plus Size Ramona Njeri Munene

 

Congeniality Award: Vilmer Komora

Style Icon Award: Grace Laura

The evening served as a testament to the power of unity and the celebration of individuality. Through their grace and confidence, the contestants inspired audiences to embrace their own uniqueness and pursue their dreams, irrespective of the obstacles they encounter.

As the curtains drew to a close on this unforgettable night, the Face of Africa 2024 International Pageant left an indelible mark on the hearts of all attendees. It’s not merely about crowning beauty queens; it’s about empowering women to embrace their inner strength and radiate brightly in a world that often seeks to dim their light.

However, “The Face of Africa 2024” was more than just a fashion show; it was a platform for empowerment and inclusivity. Delight Fashion School has long been dedicated to nurturing talent from all walks of life, providing opportunities for aspiring designers to showcase their skills and break into the competitive world of fashion.

One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement of the winners of the prestigious “Face of Africa” competition. Amidst fierce competition, a select few models stood out for their charisma, poise, and distinctive beauty. These individuals were not just crowned as ambassadors of African fashion but as symbols of diversity and representation in an industry often criticized for its lack thereof.

As the final curtain fell on “The Face of Africa 2024,” the reverberations of its success echoed far beyond the confines of the runway. Delight Fashion School had once again cemented its reputation as a beacon of creativity and excellence, not only in Kenya but on the global stage. Through its commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and cultural preservation, the school continues to shape the future of African fashion, inspiring generations to come.

In a world where fashion is often synonymous with fleeting trends and superficiality, Delight Fashion School reminds us that true style is a reflection of heritage, creativity, and authenticity. As we bid farewell to another spectacular event, we eagerly await the next chapter in the school’s journey, knowing that the face of Africa will continue to shine brighter with each passing year.

Content  courtesy of Delight Fashion School, The Face of Africa & NFH Digital Team

Securing $3.4 Million In Seed Funding, The Folklore Aims To Empower Marginalized Communities, Empower African Fashion Designers, And Expand Its B2B Wholesale Platform.

The Folklore, a firm that empowers underprivileged communities and African fashion designers, has raised $3.4 million in seed money to grow its business-to-business (B2B) wholesale network. Lead investors in the investment round were Techstars, Black Tech Nation Ventures, Slauson & Co., and venture capital company Benchstrength.

African apparel designers were given economic prospects when founder Amira Rasool opened The Folklore in 2018 as an online boutique. The business has now reached out to underserved populations all across the world. Offering a number of additional services, such as The Folklore Source, The Folklore Capital, and The Folklore Hub, has been made possible by The Folklore’s pivot to a B2B wholesale platform.

Kenneth Chenault Jr., managing partner of Benchstrength, stated, “Benchstrength is thrilled to invest in The Folklore.” “We think the business is creating a strong movement that will support and grow the next big names in the industry. We can’t wait to work with Amira and her group.

Rasool underlined the value of cultivating connections with investors, pointing out that Benchstrength’s investment was made subsequent to her initial communication with Chenault. In the end, her emphasis on the importance of updating investors on the company’s development influenced Benchstrength’s decision to make an investment.

Brand partners’ comments fueled Folklore’s growth and the introduction of new services. After asking brand partners what areas they were particularly in need of assistance, Rasool and her team created The Folklore Source, The Folklore Capital, and The Folklore Hub.

As per the news statement, marketers can obtain access to The Folklore platform and its resources by subscribing to a $39 monthly subscription. The Folklore’s emphasis on offering technology and knowledge to enable underrepresented communities in running successful brands is indicative of its dedication to supporting up-and-coming brands.

According to Rasool, “We are positioning ourselves as a one-stop shop for brands to access technology that can increase their sales, streamline their processes, and help them grow.”

“We continue to develop our technology to support businesses as they expand and gain more traction, even as we serve up-and-coming brands.”

The funding infusion will support The Folklore’s 2022 transition from an online store that specializes in selling clothing from African labels to a business-to-business enterprise that facilitates the entry of up-and-coming businesses into retail spaces.

“We can’t do two big things and be successful as a small company,” Rasool remarked. “Therefore, in order to have a greater influence on our brands, we have chosen to concentrate on the B2B route.”

The Folklore is located in New York City and was founded in 2018. After receiving $2.8 million in two pre-seed rounds, the company’s total fundraising currently stands at $6.2 million with this latest investment.

Content courtesy of The Folklore, More Branches & NFH Digital Team 

Nike On Air Eliud Kipchoge: Breaking Records and Fashion Norms in Bode X Nike

Eliud Kipchoge, renowned worldwide as the epitome of marathon greatness, has once again defied expectations, this time not on the track, but on the streets of Paris, adorned in the finest threads from the Nike x Bode collaboration. In a surprising twist at Nike’s recent product reveal event, Kipchoge, the undisputed king of long-distance running, emerged as a symbol of style and sophistication, showcasing the seamless fusion of athleticism and haute couture.

Picture this: Eliud Kipchoge, the legendary marathoner, stands tall outside Nike’s Parisian extravaganza, clad in Bode’s Scrimmage Jacket and matching pants, exuding an aura of confidence and elegance that transcends the boundaries of sport. And on his feet, not the usual carbon-plated running shoes, but the yet-to-be-released black leather Bode x Nike Astro Grabber sneakers, a testament to his willingness to embrace innovation and creativity in every aspect of his life.

For Kipchoge, whose name is synonymous with speed, endurance, and world records, the transition from breaking marathon barriers to breaking fashion norms may seem unexpected. However, as he prepares for his fifth appearance at the Olympic Games, Kipchoge continues to redefine what it means to be a global icon, both on and off the track.

Nike’s collaboration with Bode has been a journey of anticipation and excitement, with fans eagerly awaiting each new revelation. From the initial teaser of the black Astro Grabber sneaker to the eventual unveiling of the full collection, the partnership between these two powerhouses has captivated audiences worldwide. And now, with the release date set for April 18, enthusiasts can finally get their hands on the entire range of Bode x Nike apparel and footwear.

It’s undeniable that for Kipchoge, style has never been the focus. With four of the ten fastest marathons in history under his belt and a world record time of 2:01:09, his priorities have always been clear: to push the boundaries of human achievement in the realm of athletics. Yet, seeing the GOAT adorned in full Bode x Nike attire serves as a reminder that greatness knows no bounds, whether on the track or the runway.

In the grand tapestry of sports and fashion, Eliud Kipchoge’s appearance in Bode x Nike is a masterpiece a harmonious blend of athleticism, innovation, and sartorial excellence. As we witness the convergence of two worlds, let us celebrate Kipchoge’s unwavering commitment to excellence, both as a marathon legend and an unexpected style icon. Truly, his presence drips with the essence of greatness, a masterpiece deserving of its place in the annals of history.

Could Kenyan Sporting Legends Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon Be Emerging Fashion Icons?
In a recent showcase of Nike’s latest fashion line at the renowned Palais Brongniart in Paris, photos of globally acclaimed athletes Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon gracing the runway have sparked international attention. Kipchoge, widely regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners in history, captured the spotlight as he strutted in a futuristic trench coat accentuated with puff shoulders.

Images of Kipchoge sporting a sleek gloss-black ensemble, complemented by shades, gloves, and baggy trousers, have drawn comparisons to iconic sci-fi imagery, evoking references to Star Wars among some observers on social media. This unexpected venture into the realm of high fashion by Kipchoge and Kipyegon has ignited discussions about their potential emergence as fashion influencers on a global scale.

Nike Unveils Summer Games Kits with Star Athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Faith Kipyegon, and Sha’Carri Richardson

In anticipation of the upcoming Summer Games, Nike hosted an event aimed at unveiling kits for various sports, ranging from track and field to basketball, soccer, and skateboarding. Renowned athletes, including Eliud Kipchoge, Faith Kipyegon, and Sha’Carri Richardson, graced the event, showcasing Nike casual wear on stage.

Sharing glimpses of the event on April 11, Kipchoge and Kipyegon highlighted their dazzling outfits. In one video, Kipchoge donned a striking black ensemble, drawing comparisons to the iconic style often associated with rapper Kanye West. Similarly, Kipyegon was dressed head-to-toe in all-black attire, accentuated with shorts, a jacket, gloves, socks, and shades, completing the sleek look.

While some lauded Kipchoge for his bold fashion sense, others expressed surprise, noting the departure from his usual athletic attire. A segment of Kipchoge’s fanbase suggested that the outfit did not align with his established style as a world-class athlete, advising him to maintain focus on his athletic pursuits. Despite differing opinions, many commended Kipchoge for showcasing versatility beyond the track.

Kipchoge’s collaboration with Nike has been a significant development in his career. In 2023, Nike announced a partnership with the marathon champion, unveiling the EK Umoja collection inspired by Kipchoge’s legendary career. This collaboration marks a milestone for Kipchoge, as athletes involved in such ventures receive a share of sales, making it a lucrative opportunity. The collection features footwear and apparel adorned with inscriptions commemorating Kipchoge’s race-winning achievements and his iconic mantra, ‘No human is limited’.

Content courtesy of  Highs No Biety & NFH Digital Team

Ami Doshi Shah, a Jewelry Designer, Reinvents Jewelry in Kenya Using Ropes, Brass, Salt, and Stone.

Sisal ropes, old brass, salt crystals, and volcanic pebbles are just a few of the unusual materials that award-winning Kenyan designer Ami Doshi Shah has consistently used to create elegant jewelry that redefines value in a market obsessed with carats. In an interview with AFP on her rooftop studio in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Shah, 44, said, “As a child, I was always finding beauty in unusual things like stones and fossils.” Shah creates her pieces by hand.

Her 2019 collection Salt of the Earth, which was on display at the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, included ropes, salt crystals, and patinated blue-green metal.

Shah claimed that it took her years to devote herself entirely to her vocation, even though she graduated from a university in Birmingham, England, with a degree in jewelry and silversmithing and the coveted Goldsmiths medal for best apprentice designer.

Ami Doshi Shah interned at Indian jewelers like The Gem Palace, whose clients have included Princess Diana, Oprah Winfrey, and Gwyneth Paltrow. She is a third-generation Kenyan of South Asian descent.
She did not agree with traditional Indian notions of jewels as an opulent investment. Furthermore, she wasn’t quite sure how to reconcile the demands of the commercial world with her experimental sensibility. Shah then started working for an advertising company, where he was based in Nairobi and London for the following twelve years.

She remarked, “I knew it wasn’t my calling.” During her second pregnancy, she took a break and started an artist residency at the nonprofit Kuona Trust in Nairobi for a year in 2014–2015.

Ami Doshi Shah claimed that although it was a cathartic time, it was also “filled with self-doubt.” It is difficult to realize that you might not be a commercial success, especially after spending so much time focused on earning money. I was concerned about whether people would enjoy my work.

Personal and Political
Ami Doshi founded her brand in 2015 with the intention of producing striking, sculptural pieces that honor the talismanic significance of jewelry in Kenyan culture, where it is worn for protection, strength, and at significant life events.
Her collection includes everything from sisal neckpieces to brass earrings that sway with every movement and stone-inlaid cuffs.
Her creations are built to order using materials found in Kenya, marking a dramatic break from the traditional Indian jewelry that is dominated by expensive metals and jewels. She works with materials including leather, mango wood, and zoisite, a byproduct of the nation’s ruby mining in East Africa, in addition to brass, which is the predominant metal used in Kenyan jewelry.

The end product is jewelry that ranges in price from $75 to $375 and is quite personal and occasionally political.

“Not everyone will enjoy or comprehend my work, and that’s okay,” she remarked, emphasizing that she views jewelry-making as “a labor of love” rather than a financial endeavor. Her critically praised 2019 collection examined the contradictory properties of salt—it is a material that is both caustic and life-giving.

It also alluded to Britain’s colonial past, as Shah’s grandparents moved from Gujarat, India, where Mahatma Gandhi led a famous protest march in 1930 in response to harsh salt tariffs. That’s when she stated, “I felt for the first time that jewelry could be political, that it could be a thread connecting so many things.”

Tell Our Own Story
Her most recent collection, Memento Mori, came up as a result of her grief, as she considered her father’s passing in 2021 and their last days spent together in the Kenyan town of Watamu, which is located on the Indian Ocean.

Her concentration is squarely on the continent she calls home, both as the inspiration and the market for her sophisticated creations, which are stocked in shops in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Kenya, despite the fact that her work is sold and recognized in the West.

After the painful expulsion of South Asians from Uganda in 1972, she urged her fellow South Asians to embrace integration rather than seek safety in self-segregation, saying, “I feel far more Kenyan than Indian.” Her goal is to establish a multidisciplinary studio with “predominantly Kenyan” designers, building on her recent ventures into the furniture industry. “It’s crucial to be able to narrate our own story in our own unique way rather than having one forced upon us.”

Content courtesy of  Kuwait Times & NFH Digital Team