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Thursday 29th of September 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 

Whole: A Fun, Fresh Plus-size Kenyan Fashion Label Founded By Getrude Njeri

Whole is a fun, fresh plus-size Kenyan Fashion Label that will soon be the go-to destination for plus size women and plus size men in Kenya looking for beautiful fashion pieces.

NFH Contributing Writer Linda Wairegi sat down with the founder Getrude Njeri, to learn more about Whole clothing brand and her journey as a fashion designer.

 

LW: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

GN: My name is Gertrude Njeri I am a multimedia journalist and a media marketer. I have worked as a writer, audiovisual producer and digital media strategist, and storyteller for different brands. I enjoy uncovering and narrating stories that relate to human experiences, their desires, convictions, interests, and challenges.

Fashion is an extension of who I am, and I believe it is also a great tool to tell one’s stories and express oneself fully. That’s why when I saw a gap for full-figured men and women to openly express themselves through fashion, I was inspired to start my clothing brand.

LW: When did you fall in love with fashion?

GN: I think I’ve just always loved fashion since I was young. Dressing up, styling, and seeing how little bits, pieces, and elements can come together to make something really beautiful!

LW: Who inspired you to start your fashion journey?

GN: Myself to be honest. haha. I am such a lover of clothing and style and when I visited stores, and shops that had really beautiful pieces but didn’t have them in my size, it was disheartening. Also knowing that other plus size men and women were going through this inspired me to serve them.

LW: What’s the name of your fashion label? And why?

GN: Whole.

I was looking for a name that had meaning behind it and that would be timeless. So the message behind it also greatly influenced the name.

For so long plus size men and women were made to feel inferior cause they did not fit into beauty standards. Whole seemed like a perfect fit cause it alluded to how wholesome and complete these full-figured beings are both inwards and outwards.

LW: When did you start your Whole?

GN: Whole has been a process, I can’t say it had a definite beginning. But the concept came to me when I was at my aunt’s place. (She is very religious and spiritual)

So as she and my mum were having banter and drinking tea, I was in the other room browsing through my phone, looking at style inspiration as I always do, then it came to me!

So I ran out to where my mum and my aunt were and I pitched the idea to them and they were like “YES! please do it!” And being in that anointed home, it just felt like God told me to do it there and then!

So from that day, it has just been a journey really. We are constantly launching and identifying new ways that work for us and our customers.

LW: Where can potential customers view and purchase your designs?

GN: We have the temporary shopping site now and the catalogue available here:
https://linktr.ee/WholeClothingBrand

So regarding the price points, we have custom-made pieces that are 10-20 % more than the ready-to-go pieces. However, the ready to go pieces range from Ksh 2,000-4,000.

LW: Why did you decide to come up with a plus-size clothing line?

GN: From a personal experience, I lacked trendy and unique clothing in my size and so many of my plus size girlies expressed the same sentiments. And generally, plus-size bodies are so divine and they too, deserve clothing that makes them feel beautiful and whole.

LW: What makes it different from other plus-size fashion labels/houses?

GN: Our Whole Assist feature is a whole new ball game!

We know that plus size men and women have their mass distributed differently; into different sizes shapes such as apple, hourglass, pear, square etc.

This platform is here to ensure that all the pieces you buy from us have the perfect fit! With the specific measurements you share, we tailor-make or adjust the clothing you purchase from us according to your size and shape.

Also Whole is more of a message than a clothing brand. We are here to literally change the perception of these beings as worthy frames of style and appeal through our pieces. Think of Whole as a revolution!

LW: Can you tell us more about your design process?

GN: So we mostly curate our designs and pieces. The idea was that so many trendy clothing that was in the market was unavailable in larger sizes. So we identify these unique pieces and recreate them, to flatter the full-figured body and make them available to plus-size men and women.

LW: Do you have an interest in making plus-size clothing for men?

GN: Yes most definitely! I have a whole design mood board for my plus-size men. And we plan to actualize this in the next collection.

LW: Have you faced any challenges?

GN: There are constant challenges, It has not been easy! Especially in the early stages. Just getting everything in place and getting that grounding was super hard. But we continue to grow and overcome!

LW: What’s your favourite ‘Whole’ Item? Why?

GN: This is so so hard for me to choose lol cause all of them are just amazing and have different elements in them that make them unique and beautiful.

LW: What’s your highlight so far, in your fashion journey?

GN: My highlight would definitely be the fact that Whole has so much potential, each time I am in my Whole workspace working, I see so many avenues for its growth and success.
And that is my constant highlight, to be honest!

LW: What’s your dream collaboration?

GN: There are excellent plus-size models that I’d love to work with! They are:
@Misslionhunter
@Styleissttyle
@jnaydaily

I’d also love to tap into brands that do not have a broad size range and give them that!

LW: Do you have an inspiring quote for aspiring fashion designers?

GN: Please just do it! Dream it, Idealise it, Fall in Love with It and do it! Do it scared, uncertain, and terrified but please do it! Everything else will follow, I promise.

LW: Is anything else, that you feel our readers should know about you or about Whole?

GN: Go purchase your first piece from Whole!
For your sisters, aunts, girlfriends, mum, best friends! There is something for everyone.
https://linktr.ee/WholeClothingBrand

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