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Top 10 Fashion Designers from Kenya

Posted On : August 10, 2013

Nairobi Fashion Hub

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Taking Kenyan Fashion Industry to the next level, Kenya Fashion Awards Celebrates Local talents, The fashion industry in Kenya is no longer a reserve for the rich. This industry has come a long way because Kenyans not only want to feel good, but to look the part too.

For this reason, there is a new age crop of designers, both upcoming and established who have understood the need that Kenyans have to look and feel good. Competition is stiff and therefore only those who can interpret fashion trends and capture them in their designs carry the day. There are so many designers in Kenya today,

Most Influential Fashion Designer In Kenya 

KikoRomeo

This is another leading design house based in Kenya employing many well-known designers. This fashion house is owned by Anne McCreath who was trained as a designer in Rome. Before coming to Kenya, Anne worked as a designer in Bercelona. Some aid work brought her to Kenya and after a number of years, KikoRomeo, a Swahili word that means Adam’s apple was born.

Her desire is to give Africans contemporary fashion inspired by their culture. One of the notable things that this design house has done is coming up with peace patches which were used to bring Kenyans from all walks of life together after the post-election violence in 1998 and also creating employment. You can view some of their collections and enjoy their variety and style.

1. Sally Karago

Of the veteran fashion designers in Kenya, Sally Karago stands out. She started her establishment, Mcensl Fashion House way back in 1992 and her designs are inspired by contemporary Africa. She was actually the first designer to incorporate the Maasai blanket and Kikoi fabric into her designs.

Her collection is dubbed “Made in Kenya by a Kenyan.” She also teaches fashion design since 2009 and has another brand – SK Collection that sells ready to wear clothes for all ages.

2. Wambui Mukenyi

There is no way Wambui Mukeyi could miss out on the list of top 10 fashion designers in Kenya to follow. Apart from being a sought after designer, she is inspirational because she is self-taught. This has seen her go on to receive national recognition.

She founded her label, which goes by her name, in 2009 where she started out with custom made outfits for branching out to African bridal wear.  She uses luxurious fabrics in her designs with a little hint of African inspiration.

3. Yvonne Odhiambo

Yvonne Odhiambo is the clear definition of young, funky and trendy. She was among the few select designers who were chosen to dress personalities like Yemi Alade and the entire Coke Studio Band during the third season of Coke Studio Africa.

This was not her first taste of the spotlight though, because she also got the chance to dress Big Brother Africa contestants from Kenya – Melvin Alusa and Sabina Stadler in 2014.

4. Nick Ondu

Whenever you see Sauti Sol look stunning in their attire, especially Ankara, then you will get the desire to know who is behind all those looks. This is none other than Nick Ondu. He is the man that lets his magic speak for him in the way he dresses the boy band.

However, he is not restricted to men’s fashion. He has a wide variety of collections for women as well. Who wouldn’t want to follow a designer who dresses celebrities?

5. Evelyne Akinyi Odongo

Everlyne Akinyi Odongo  is the founder and creative director at Akinyi Odongo Kenya is an authentic high end, rejuvenating and invigorating African fashion line by MEFA Creations, cutting across the local, regional and international apparel industry.

Inspired by a Kenyan fashion industry indefatigably knocking on the international market galaxy, Akinyi Odongo Kenya has tilted the establishment with African inspired designs exuding timeless sophistication, class and ever present diversity that has carved its niche in the local and international fashion arena.

From a village girl who milked cows and slaughtered hundreds of chicken a day, to a prestigious fashion powerhouse, evelyne akinyi odongo, 40, has smacked the odds with prowess that has attracted dignitaries for clients, including first lady margaret kenyatta.

Akinyi Odongo Kenya is now a bespoke designer of perfect cuts with refined details and fabrics that are of high quality yet sustainable for everyday use, a touch of rich African culture that creates the distinction. We talk the talk in targeting high net worth individuals from all over the world. Our Jackets, dresses, skirts and suits have been won by first ladies of African countries, presidential candidates, and corporate high flyers and hugely acclaimed by fashion enthusiasts.

She is an extraordinary story of passion, diligence, work ethic, integrity and God! With ‘fashion designer’ genes flowing in her blood, inspired by her mother, a ‘fundi’ (tailor) in a Small village Called Rangala In Siaya County in western part of Kenya who taught her the mastery of a sewing machine at a tender age, Evelyne Akinyi Odongo set up MEFA Creations a decade ago in the corner of her house humble beginnings. Her trailblazing journey, building her clientele from a handful of friends to celebrity endorsement status can only be typified by Evelyne Akinyi Odongo’s

6. Adele Dejak

Adele Dejak the brand is home to luxurious African inspired jewelry handcrafted in the heart of Kenya. Everything comes from materials that different African tribes would use to make their ornaments and trinkets. We have contemporary, artistic and wearable bags, necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets not forgetting some exclusive home decor items.

If you consider yourself sophisticated, edgy, trendy and fashionable, Adele Dejak is the brand for you, in creating jewelry, we are keen to use environment-friendly materials, celebrate cultures, teach technical skills and create employment opportunities. Due to our passion for fashion, we have been able to collaborate with big brands such as Samsung, Salvatore Ferragamo and AFI (Africa Fashion International in SA) among others.

Over the years, we have designed and launched several jewelry collections in the market. Our most recent is the Love Collection, inspired by the emotion that is so abundant in Africa. The Kobo Line features different sophisticated items for less than $100 and we have bags to suit different tastes. Adele Dejak The Brand also features a lifestyle collection of home décor items because your home should look as good as you do.

7. Anyango Mpinga

Anyango mpinga is an eco-innovator who has embraced the principles of circular fashion to explore radical systems in textile design and promote conscious consumption of apparel and accessories. She founded the eponymous brand in 2015, now renowned for its reimagined white shirts; bold prints; balanced between androgyny and a bohemian aesthetic. She designs with an ethereal quality that is reminiscent of the romantic victorian age while maintaining a sophisticated boyish edge. As a forward-thinking designer, anyango is exploring the use of emerging technologies to create biodegradable textiles.

Having created a social enterprise, her initiative free as a human tackles the humanitarian and environmental crisis of the explorative labor practices in the fashion industry. Free as a human raises awareness around human trafficking and the forced labour that occurs within supply chain in the fashion industry. The initiative supports the work of awareness against human trafficking (haart kenya), the first non-governmental organisation dedicated to combating trafficking in east africa. Profits are donated to the haart kenya shelter for young female survivors of trafficking.

Accolades
Finalist green carpet fashion awards- milan (2019)
Designer of the year- nairobi (2018)
International design award, un itc geneva- (2016)

8. Vivienne Taa

Vivienne Taa is a bold and edgy fashion house that intricately blends African prints, contemporary fabric and designs into beautifully styled exotic clothes and accessories for fashion lovers, both men and women with a discerning eye.

Their designs draw inspiration from African culture, especially music and art. they are set apart by thier innovation, extraordinary workmanship and great attention to detail.

Among the newbies in the fashion industry in Kenya today is Vivienne Taa. Her label may be new in the market, but it offers a great addition to the Kenyan fashion world. She took up fashion as a hobby and it was only until 2016 that she decided to take it up as a full time job.

Her passion has made her see her designs showcased on major runways in Kenya like the Nairobi Fashion Week. Her label exudes elegance with a touch of the African culture.

9. John Kaveke

Initially designing for men only, John Kaveke’s designs are a perfect fusion of both African and Western cultures, which is evident in his choice of materials leather, cotton, tie and dye, linen silk and denim suede). He has since included women designs in his collections.

He has had the chance to showcase his work on both local and international platforms like International Smirnoff Fashion wards, Hub of Africa in Ethiopia, just to name a few.

10. Patricia Mbela

A household name in the fashion industry in Kenya, Patricia Mbela, under her brand name Poisa, produces collections for both men and women, alongside knitwear and jewelry.

She likes to call her brand ‘wearable art’ and has been showcased all over the world, with her most notable work being the Kenya Airways Millenium uniform design. She was also awarded the 2014 Top Kenyan Fashion and Jewellery Designer at the Kenyan Fashion Week.

11. Vaishali Morjaria

The founder of Vaishali Creations brings a rare combination of the African and Indian cultures to create an exquisite contemporary line. She derives inspiration from both cultures, as well as nature to create jewellery designs and clothing lines for both men and women.

Vaishali is an award winning  Kenyan fashion designer she was born in Kisumu, Kenya., she finished all her formal education in Nairobi and proceeded to U.K for further studies (University) where is pursued  her Education graduated with Dip Foundation Fine Art  BA ( Hons) Fashion Design  MA, PG, PG (Dip) Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Products.

She worked as a mentor/ counselor and a PR consultant at the University. she was chosen Designer Maker 2006 by Brilliantly Birmingham. U.K.

Having won many awards, her designs have gained international recognition and praise from the media. Locally, she scooped the 2016 Designer of the Year (Women’s Wear) at the Jumia Glamour Awards.

Vaishali Morjaria was also in the same year chosen winner of the Platina Gallery competition in Sweden. she returned back to Nairobi in 2006 and was introduced to the fashion industry via the reality TV program: ‘Catwalk Kenya’ in which she stood as 1st runners up.  Vaishali  also started teaching A’ level Art and Design at Oshwal Academy Nairobi in the same year and doing collaboration with Urban Phunk ( free lance print designer for the Company)

The founder of Vaishali Creations brings a rare combination of the African and Indian cultures to create an exquisite contemporary line. She derives inspiration from both cultures, as well as nature to create jewellery designs and clothing lines for both men and women. Having won many awards, her designs have gained international recognition and praise from the media. Locally, she scooped the 2016 Designer of the Year (Women’s Wear) at the Jumia Glamour Awards.

12. Wambui Kibue

Ms Kibue’s she is the founder and CEO at  Angelsmile House of Design, Wambui Kibue love for fashion started at an early age, she used to wear her mother’s outfits like shoes and fashion accessories. as time went by  Kibue was inspired by the revolutionary fashion television show in the 90s; on CNN’s Style With Elsa Klensch. Wambui although she has a degree in Fashion Design, her skills were honed when she worked for Monica Kanari  one of Kenya’s successful fashion designers.

Now with her own successful business, she has managed to win confidence of many local celebrities and is the designer behind the well-cut clothes and red carpet dresses of model Ajuma Nyasenyana, TV presenter Grace Msalame, celebrated film director Wanuri Kahiu, singer Sanaipei Tande and Muthoni “The Drummer Queen”, also a singer.

 

13. Jamil Walji

Jamil is one of the new designers, but he has the recognition of a seasoned designer. His fashion label, JW Couture, creates sophisticated designs that garner admiration from top fashion critics. He has embraced the couture culture with each line being so different from the next.

He has been in the Kenyan fashion arena since 2011 but has already won a couple of awards; the FAFA Insight 2012 (a competition for emerging designers) and the 2013 Kenya Fashion Awards Designer of the Year. He has exhibited his designs all over Africa, including very recently in Rwanda during the Kigali Fashion Week held in 2016.

14. Deepa Dosaja

Deepa Dosaja is one of the top designers in Kenya. She draws inspiration from nature in all its aspects – patterns, colours and even materials. Due to her love for nature, her label, which has been around since the 1990s, is fully eco-friendly.

She only works with fabrics made from natural materials such as silk, wool, linen and cotton. Her exquisite designs have been paraded on runways all over Africa and once in Europe too. In 1997, she participated (and organised) a fashion event in collaboration with the German Embassy in Kenya to raise funds for street children rehabilitation projects.

In 2013 she won the award for the ‘Most Influential Woman (MIW) Kenya’ in the in the Industries Sector. In 2015, the Oscar Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o wore a Deepa Dosaja outfit on one of her visits to Kenya that received worldwide acclamation.

15. Faith Migwi 

Faith Migwi of Manciny Designs is another self-taught designer with a great reputation in the Kenyan fashion industry. She started her journey in 2012 founding 4 different brands; Eqo-chic, an eco-friendly brand that used recycled materials to make bags, Manciny, a men’s wear brand, Nyadhi, a women’s wear brand followed by The Urban Gentleman that provides styling (and design) services for men.

She has currently niched down to concentrate on the male segment, which is inspired by contemporary Africa.

16. Valerie Nyamwaya

Valarie Nyamwaya decided to take a different twist in the African fashion industry. Long before her graduation at Egerton University, she had already started doing what she is passionate about fashion design.

She is the co-founder of Afrivazi, a website that seeks to tell the African story in a different way, through fashion. Her website helps other Kenyan designers to sell their work on an affordable platform.

17. Sharon Mundia

Sharon Mundia, also known as, This is Ess, started her fashion blog in order to share little pieces of her life with the world. She has grown to become a household name in the fashion world.

She also allows other designers to showcase their products on her website. This is Ess is a one woman show and everything that goes up into the blog she does on her own.

18. Laura Lwala

If you thought that fashion designer is all about clothes, then you need to re-evaluate your definition of fashion design. There is another type of fashion apart from clothing and that is what Laura Lwala brings to the table.

She designs jewelry using beads and metal and she mainly uses brass. Public figures like Sharon Mundia and Cece Sagini have donned her pieces. One beautiful thing about her work is that her designs are unique; one piece is totally different from the other.

Content Courtesy Of Nairobi Fashion Hub

Nairobi Fashion Hub

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