Words by AMANDA OWINYA
Africa has over quite some time been the front-runner in becoming a fast-emerging fashion powerhouse in the world. The continent has found a way of expressing itself through fashion by finding its own unique voice in the ever-growing, ever-evolving fashion world. In the midst of all the different emerging styles, there have been individuals who rather than go with the tide have gone ahead to forge their own path and define their own individuality through their own unique style that has gone ahead to be recognised on an international level.
STYLE CURATOR, OLIVER ASIKE
One half of the famous fashion duo of the 2manysibings blog, Oliver Asike, a streetstlye star is a man many in fashion verse would rather find to be very enviable. His unique style which consists of vintage inspiration is one that has even gone ahead to garner international recognition from the fashion magazine powerhouse that is Vogue where a feature article was done on the amazing phenomena that is 2manysiblings.
His style roots can be traced back to the local Kenyan thrift scene that has rather quite evolved over the years. The thrift scene which mostly consists of second-hand clothing from local vendors is one of the most widespread fashion practices in the country whereby together with incorporating various pieces that may be from the local fashion textile industry as well; Ankara and Denim wear, the fashion-conscious Kenyan youth find a way to customize their own style.
For Oliver, he could be seen as being more of a fashion curator rather than simply just a fashion enthusiast or termed as fashion-conscious. Instead of just putting pieces that may seem to right together or trying to come up with trendy looks from the pieces he has, he rather takes it a step further by turning his fashion into something more of art by capturing the very essence that is the Kenyan spirit as well as his own unique vintage feel. Oliver is someone who finds a way of bringing vintage into the modern fashion scene and making it to be something close to inspiring art.
Being the curator he is, he has together with his sister under the 2manysiblings franchise helped to inspire the creative spirit in the Kenyan Fashion scene by creating spaces that allow people to explore the fashion creativity through the annual ‘Thrift Social’ event. The event can be seen as being more of a space where fashion and art creatives come together to share ideas and feel free to explore more diverse and unique ways to express themselves through their fashion by turning it into an art form.
KENYA TO THE WORLD, ZEDDIE LUKOYE
Coming from the humble roots of printing and hawking Rugby T-shirts to running a denim business from a small house in Kinoo and moving on to gracing New York fashion week runways with his designs and now coming back home to establish his bespoke men suits clothing line Narok NYC, Zeddie is a man whose story is one of endurance and that of determination to always do better.
Zeddie is one who is well-versed in the business of high-end fashion being that he worked as an in-house designer for some of the biggest names in New York fashion such as Alexander Nash. Being that he is not a classically trained tailor, his impeccable work and outstanding resume of clientele and fashion houses he has worked for is quite impressive.
His work from his launch of his fashion line in Kenya mid this year, speaks of a polished designer as the craftsmanship of the pieces were nothing short of art. His label, Narok NYC that is inspired by the Maasai-occupied region shows his transition marked by the wildebeest migration as well as to pay homage to his first New York fashion week runway show that was Maasai-shuka inspired.
His talents being well-recognised and his creativity appreciated, he has gone ahead to garner even more international recognition for his work from renowned American musician Jidenna who is of Nigerian heritage and known for his unique fashion and clean overall bespoke dressing. During his recent visit to Kenya for a performance event, the fashionable pair met and ended with Zeddie being hired by Jidenna as his Kenyan designer for future collaborations and visits to the country.
Zeddie through his fashion line plans to bring high-fashion tailoring into the country and the continent at large by making perfectly tailored and made to fit suits for men to show them fashion s for all. The made to fit pieces also inspire an even more fashion forward thinking and embracing of the same form men who traditionally always end up picking their suits from a line-up of mass produced suits. The personalisation is the main highlight for Zeddie.
For someone like Zeddie, his expression of art is seen through his impeccable craftsmanship that he effortlessly brings out in his designs. It is impossible for one not to see his vision and inspiration through his work as he takes you on a journey from the fabric of the suit, to the lining to every stitch made in the construction of the suit. He tells you a story by bringing out the characters of all these pieces and once all sewn together, brings out the final piece that is the suit.
The spirit of Africa is one that has always been alive is one that is slowly coming of age to realize its true potential by pushing its boundaries through more creative approaches of expression and this can be truly seen from the ever-evolving fashion scene that can be described as having grown into something more of bringing out the art in fashion.
With more and more people joining the creative field, it has allowed for more voices in the African continent to be heard through the expression of different art forms. The many voices that come together truly bring out the voice of the long sleeping giant that is Africa which is a melting pot of pure creativity.
The future of fashion in Africa is not one that we have to anticipate for because the future of African fashion is now and is happening.