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Thursday 11th of August 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyan Genge Musician Nonini Launches Footwear Line In US, Shoe Designed in Italy

Kenyan rapper Hubert Nakitare better known as Nonini has launched a footwear line under his Mgenge2RU in the US. The artiste confirmed the info through his social media platforms. The shoe edition was created by Italian master-crafts, AliveShoes, who have many of their shoe editions appearing in international magazines like Vogue.

According to Nonini, he has invested over Ksh 2million in the shoe line and hopes the merchandise gets global recognition. “The shoes going for Ksh24, 000 are real international quality wear. They have been produced and endorsed by one of the best Italian shoe companies,” said the rapper.

His latest design is a unique and limited edition shoe wear in which he has collaborated with Italian master-crafts AliveShoes, through its founder and CEO, Luca Botticelli, AliveShoes, certified Nonini’s designer shoes for distribution and sale to the public this week.

The announcement comes days after Nonini and his team met the Floyd Mayweather African team in Las Vegas to discuss collaborative ideas they can work on touching on the apparel business.

“The US is a lucrative market because as you know, their economy is thriving and that is why my products are doing well here,” he expounded on his choice of launching in the US. Besides seeking performance opportunities, the rapper relocated to the United States of America four months ago, where he has been consulting on how to expand and monetize his ‘Mgenge2Ru’ brand.

“I am still working on my music with two major collaborations; one with Redsan and the other with Tanzanian rapper Chege, coming out soon. But I have discovered that all creatives in the world including US rapper Kanye West are trying to make it through brands.

“Fashion can take you places including those international fashion platforms like the New York Fashion week and so I have my eyes on the prize. This is where all my focus is now,” the celebrated hip-hop star who was part of the Kenyan hip-hop revolution in the 2000s said.

Popular for his big songs such as ‘Furahiday’, ‘Mtoto Mzuri’, ‘Keroro’ and ‘Nimetoka Mbali’, Nonini started working on his fashion design Mgenge2Ru when he was still at Calif Records.

He recalls how he would visit Gikomba market to buy clothes that he would then brand and sell to his fans. This is how the popular Calif Records T-shirts came up.

“It is only that Mgenge2Ru apparel is exploding now otherwise what people are seeing now is a result of constant work dating back many years. The time I have put in this cannot be measured.

“In the last two years, I have put in about Sh2 million into the work and that tells you that since I have no partner this is a real investment that has gone into it. I am trying to create merchandise that is self-sustainable and one that earns itself a good international identity. This is a game-changer,” he said.

Nonini’s music career is also thriving.

“Last Saturday I performed in Oakland in California among other shows and it is during my interactions with fans that I am learning what they want in terms of fashion,” Nonini said.

Nonini is not the only Kenyan making it big in the US when it comes to fashion designs.

Zedekiah Lukoye, aka Zeddie Loky, the founder and CEO of California-based Blkkburd Genes has been making waves in the US with his designs showcasing Kenya’s exquisite features, recently, he hit international headlines after rapper Jay-Z was spotted wearing his designer T-shirt showing Lamu’s Riyadh Mosque.

Each pair of kicks comes with collector edition packaging, You can buy your own pair here.

Mgenge 2Ru Kicks 
Mgenge2ru Jeshi Ed
Mgenge2RU Ladies 
Mgenge2ru Kids 
Mgenge2ru Kids 

Content courtesy of Mgenge 2ru Brand & Nairobi fashion hub 

Kenyan Designers and Film Looku Debut at London Fashion Week Virtual Premiere

A film called Looku celebrating the work of 11 emerging Kenyan brands and designers, including Favoloso By Nanu, Genteel, Nisisi Factory, Sevaria, Enda and We Are NBO, premiered virtually on Saturday 20 February.

Brought about by the British Council’s Creative DNA programme and emerging creative consultancy Fashion Scout, Looku was co-directed by Sunny Dolat and Noel Kasyoka, who sought to recreate the creative vibrancy of Nairobi’s street style scene.

“Whenever we see images of Kenya and Nairobi, often, it’s the landscapes and wildlife that are often prioritised, over the incredible and dynamic people who live there,” said Dolat, a stylist, creative director and co-founder of The Nest Collective in the Kenyan capital who leads the creative direction of Creative DNA x Fashion Scout digital publication Wauzine. “Looku and Wauzine are a celebration of Nairobi, Nairobisms and Nairobians in their glory and flair, a love letter from us to us.”

The screening of Looku was accompanied by three panel talks on timely topics like fostering creativity during crisis, reimagining fashion’s capital cities (moderated by Helen Jennings, Wauzine features editor and co-founder of Nataal Media), and the value of more conscious design practices.

Fashion Scout 

Fashion Scout is a leading international consultancy and platform for nurturing, empowering and showcasing the future of fashion. Fashion Scout’s showcase events in London, Paris, Kyiv and other fashion weeks have presented a whole generation of designers to international media, buyers and influencers.

With 20 years of experience in the industry, our consultancy creates and delivers bespoke mentoring and development programmes for designers and organisations around the world  enabling designers to adapt and build sustainable businesses in these challenging times – and providing them with the opportunity to showcase their work to the international market.

Mettā Nairobi

Metta is Nest Groups’ physical and digital entrepreneurs’ network, where they bring together founders, entrepreneurs, policymakers, academics and investors
to collaborate. Nest Group is committed to creating collaborative environments that help corporates, start-ups, and our investors scale and succeed.

HEVA Fund

HEVA Fund is an East African fund that invests in the transformative social and economic potential of the creative economy sector in the East African region.

Since 2013, HEVA Fund has generated insights, rolled out investments, and innovated financial models specifically for the growth of the creative economy in east Africa.

HEVA Fund have invested in more than 40 creative businesses and directly supported over 8,000 creative practitioners in the fashion, digital content and television, live music and gaming value-chains. From Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Arusha, Lamu to Dar es salaam, the creative sector is where the creation of new products and new cultural experiences is happening.

They want to be at the forefront of helping producers of cultural goods and services to build high-value, profitable businesses where new ideas will come to life, and where the highest potential for great profits, great jobs, and happy people will be found.

Content courtesy of  Fashion Scout, Mettā Nairobi, HEVA Fund & Nairobi fashion hub 

 

Nike Kondakiss Upcycled Parachute Fashions Help Educate Maasai Girls

The Greek/Danish designer and entrepreneur Nike Kondakis seeks to provide an alternative to the polluting fashion industry and is one of the talented designers featured in the soon to be released book Fashion Africa by AFG’s founder Jacqueline Shaw.

KONDAKIS is a responsible fashion company both socially and environmentally. Based in Kenya, KONDAKIS concept-collections are made from several unique materials such as Parachutes, Dead Wood and Peace Silk. Nike Kondakis creates stunning to-die-for garments fit for any Red Carpet event from these original recycled parachutes in Kenya. Her voluminous, goddess-like dresses are manufactured by local artisans and can be ordered on-line and shipped worldwide within 3-5 weeks.

The parachute line (she also designs accessories and knitwear) is available in an unexpected and wide range of colours such as snow white, lava orange, bush green, sea blue, pitch black and Barbie purple to name a few which are all the original colours, minimizing the energy used in an additional dyeing process and adding to the novelty of each piece. Stamps revealing when and who the parachute was made for and original parachute stitching are subtle details that make each piece unique.

Kondakis’ style is avant-garde and extravagant yet breathes Scandinavian minimalism , making her creations very wearable, modern and pure.

This is definitely visible in her knitwear line named the Natural Collection, which is made from un-dyed wool from Kenya and is spun and knitted by hand. Oversized sweaters and ponchos with a raw, natural look are made in unbleached white and black tones and are complemented by the accessories made from African “dead wood”.

Her accessories line consists of bangles, earrings and necklaces carved from wood which has died naturally or been broken off by wild game in the Kenyan bush. Her graphic pieces have a rustic touch, some surfaces still covered in bark and others polished and stamped with the Kondakis logo.

In 2002 Nike Kondakis started a three year program in responsible entrepreneurship at the Kaos piloterna in Copenhagen. After completing her education, she traveled to Kenya to set up a development project for 30,000 Maasai’s at the Lorika Foundation.

The project is now currently being run by local managers, but Nike still contributes to the education of Maasai girls who she says are often under prioritized when it comes to schooling. Her ambition is to create many more collections from different recycled materials, to sell more internationally and to employ 100 people in the coming 5 years.

Overall through their growing sales they want to take many more girls to school.

Kondakis has received a large amount of attention by international and local press for her design and work with the Maasai community, and has shown her collections on the catwalk in NYC, Nairobi and Sun City. If you happen to be in NYC, San Francisco or LA in September, you can book an appointment to meet Nike and view her collection.

Content courtesy of Africa Fashion Guide & Nairobi fashion hub

Kenyan Fashion Designers and Models : Making Fashion Stories 2021 Calls For Submissions 

Dear Kenyan fashion designers & Models

Designer Spotlight aims to showcase Kenyan designers and makers who center their work around sustainability, transparency, fairness, and equity, telling their stories, educate and inspire crafters and enable them to make informed decisions. We share scenes that tell not just one story, about a Kenyan fashion designer but all rounded We at Nairobi fashion hub publish pieces from a diverse range of voices, we’re interested in exploring and learning from different perspectives and strengthening our community, and we offer a platform for writers who express what they care about in their work.

“Power is gained by sharing knowledge,not hoarding it”

Please send your full submission to social@nairobifashionhub.co.ke

Photo courtesy of Ashok Sunny Tailored Limited

Content courtesy  of Nairobi fashion hub 

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