I could have written about a ton of things about Nairobi today. The amazing socially motivated clay pottery and necklace factory I visited yesterday. The collective of Kenyan artisans and delicious that I spent the afternoon working from. How in love I am with this city and more than excited about the fact I got to celebrate 31 in it. But the one thing I was overwhelmed by upon arrival in NBO was the fact that a large proportion of the city’s dwellers belong on The Sartorialist. And if I were bolder, I would have taken the shots myself.
Newcomers to East Africa are wont to zero-in on the kitenge. And I’m totally bringing a trunkload home. But today, I wanted to share with you some of the city’s pre-eminent stylistas. Kenyan designers are pushing their way to the forefront and going global in so many ways. Today’s collection features a pair of sibling stylists, a metal working jewelry designer with sustainability on her mind, a burgeoning young designer who is going big places (props to @koheunlee for this rec) and pretty much my favourite photogs in the city (thanks to you @mikeygsees). In a perfect world where I didn’t have just a week in Nairobi nor a head cold keeping me down, I’d be all over these guys.
2manysiblings are beyond a brother sister duo of stylistas. They know the way to my heart through the trove of second hand gems they’ve found while trolling through the famous mtumba markets of Nairobi. Which inspired me to go hunting for some pre-loved goods while I’m here. While they don’t have a brick and mortar yet, watch this space for announcements of pop-ups if you’re around this place.
Adele Dejak knows her metal, and her cement, and her glass. All recycled and all re-fashioned into the prettiest of African shapes and pretty. With her West African roots in Nigeria, she brings together the best of both worlds, working with talented high quality artisans in Kenya. Her wares can always be found at the Village Market.
Only in this tiny amazing world does this fabulous designer of visuals and beyond go to high school with this burgeoning designer. Katungulu Mwendwa goes beyond the generally recognized Kenyan prints for a futuristic, yet timeless and minimalist pieces that appeal to also appeal to my generally loud and printed aesthetic. She’s young and just getting started, but you can already find her designs at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel (aka where Barack Obama recently stayed). So she’s got some props to her name.
Last but not least are two of my favourite Kenyan photographers. Mutua Matheka (@truthslinger) makes his daily life as an architect. But in all the other hours, he’s pretty much taking shots all over Kenya. Whether it’s elephants on the Amboseli or everything that makes Nairobi the cutting edge in the East Africa Region. Then there’s Asif R Khan (@asayf), who’s photography of urban exploration in Nairobi is thrilling right from your iPhone screen. From high up above the skyscrapers of downtown Nairobi, he makes the dated architecture look like its way ahead of its time.
Hope you dig these guys as much as I have. Check them out next time you’re in NBO.