Gone are the days when Kenyans depended on the mainstream media or a neighbor’s reference to the best places to shop, which mostly ended up being the market day thrift sellers or uber expensive boutiques many could not afford. The fashion industry was scarce with quality information. Kenyans were barely fashionable as a result. This is not to say that there weren’t good Kenyan designers, thrift shops, and boutiques, just that their exposure was dismal.
The social media age came and the fashion industry lit up with energy. Hundreds of online shops emerged in the country, international brands continue to launch branches here, fashion blogging became a household thing and major fashion events are held in the country with a huge number of fashion lovers attending them. Kenya is more fashionable today and it is no longer a reserve of women to dress well. Men have embraced fashion and style beautifully and have contributed immensely to its growth. There is quite a number of male fashion bloggers in the scene.
Through fashion blogging alone, an immense number of followers have access to little known Kenyan fashion designers and other brands, thanks to social media advertising. Bloggers are the people to follow for trendy outfits as well as where to purchase them. In fact, when browsing through the African fashion industry, Kenyan fashion bloggers and designers take center stage, with the most renowned being SILVIA NJOKI, JOY KENDI, SHARON MUNDIA AND NANCY MWAI.
Kenyan fashion events are a success today thanks to corporates sponsoring them, both government and private, often times international organizations. The most popular ones being the Nairobi Fashion week and the most glamorous of all (in my opinion), the Fashion High Tea held annually. Thanks the remarkable scene, and designers keeping up with international trends, Kenyans appreciate Kenyan made clothes more today regardless of their prices.
In terms of fashion and style, Kenya is the place to be today. There is much more to come given the rate of the industry’s growth and influence internationally (notice how international brands are keen on adding Ankara and masaai shuka details in their clothes!).