Clothes express who we are from the outside and display one’s identity. How often do we make conscious decisions when shopping for outfits or is it just some form of over-sophistication? Alfayo Onyango lists a few top Kenyan fashion brands and stylists setting the trends
1. Monoxrome Nairobi
This fashion line is owned by Brian Babu. The master in creating futuristic fits and functional wear has dressed A-list celebrities such as Sauti Sol, Anyiko Owoko, Nasty C, Diamond Platnumz, Young Paris and Naiboi. From tracksuits, kimonos and crotch pants, the range is wide and all one needs to do is contact them for a custom hook-up.
2. Anyango Mpinga
Elegant designs set the fashion designer apart from her counterparts in Kenya’s fashion industry. With her strengths lying in conceptual series clothing, she has three collections to her name that have seen her gain recognition and nominated for top fashion awards in Germany and Switzerland. Her attires are bourgeoisie-like and best suited for high-profile settings such as dinner events.
3. Sunny Dolat
Dolat, who cuts a laid-back figure, has for a long time been the head stylist for famed fashion model Ajuma Nasenyana’s modelling agency, City Models Africa. His career profile is an amazing decoration of mesmerising images of models he curates for and his inconspicuous hip style.
Through his Nest Collective and Chico Leco programme, he has managed to introduce young talents such as Randy Gowon to the international stage of modelling after successful call castings.
4. Chilli Mango Clothing
With seven years of experience in the domestic fashion industry, this is an Afro urban street wear brand. Their designs are strictly hand-made and centred around African prints and patterns. From this brand, you can purchase khanga hoodies and sweatshirts, T-shirts, tank tops, posters, stickers, Afro kimonos, khanga beanies and dress top hoodies.
5. 2many Siblings
A sibling duo comprising Oliver Asike and Velma Rossa, they are behind arguably Nairobi’s biggest social fashion event, Thrift Social. They are international fashion designers and creative directors with a knack for the most diverse looks.
Most of the time, they don outlandish statement outfits, even on the most ordinary days they still know how to look different. Their contribution to Nairobi’s socio-cultural scene through Thrift Social is unprecedented in regard to how they have created a network for fashion enthusiasts in 254 to interact.
6. Clint Malik
For 20-year-old Clint Malik, his designs are as distinctive as they come. Collecting everyday objects such as scrap metal, pins and house cards then infusing them into his style is an affinity for the gem. With such creativity, one is almost certain to land a placement on the most critical American fashion publication, Vogue.
A leaf to borrow from his book would be to stay authentic and creative in your own skin and the unexpected can happen when you least expect it. His most outrageous outfit has to be the helmet with chains tangled on it, or his signature choker necklace with tied cigarettes onto it.
7. Co-Be Nairobi
A Kibera fashion brand simply breaking all rules as far as fashion goes, these creatives create the best classy unisex modern looks. Their trademark boguk hats are flying off the shelves like hot cake and despite their humble belonging, they produce high quality luxury products.
They also lend a hand in crafting accessories such as jewellery and make shoes. They have a core market base they create for and this has helped sustain them long enough in the industry.
8. Bongosawa Republik
There’s a certain fitting white patterned shirt Sauti Sol’s Bien Aime flaunts on the hit jam Short N Sweet video. The shine off that shirt is so magical and so is the case with any other piece Bongosawa Republik is involved in.
They pride in details and a close look at the models of the street-wear brand indicates the brand embraces diversity, hence the moniker of the brand, that translates to ‘like-minded’.
9. Bonkerz Kenya
As far as street wear brands are concerned, not many possess the finesse Bonkerz delivers. From custom made jackets, T-shirts, jewellery and caps, they release their clothes in series, but one can make custom requests.
Inspired by international designers such as Virgil Abloh, Don C, and Pharell, Bonkerz aesthetics are centred on tones of love, self-expression, togetherness, trendiness and self-acceptance.
10. OneHundred Years Kenya
Talk about masculinity to the core, this is an exclusive men line with exceptions for women who can wear shirtdresses. They are the brand behind the idea of coming up with a one-stop shop at Alchemist in Westlands called Made in Kenya where only Kenyan made clothes are sold. They also have a store at Village Market and produce the most amazing casual wear for men.