Kenya’s later-day fashion evolution

BY TERRY MWANGI

Kenya’s fashion culture has grown tremendously from conservative to outright daring. This big change has been credited to the Western world’s making of Nairobi one of Africa’s fashion capitals.

Over the last decade, Kenya has emerged from the humble beginnings of simple suits, long skirts and baggy trousers, to skirts slowly rising way above the knees and trousers reducing to fit for men and a tighter fit for ladies.

Kenya’s media and celebrities have played a major role in influencing and more so creating the trends. Musicians like Nameless, Wahu Kagwe, Armani, Kleptomaniax, Tattuu have all pioneered fashion choices.

2005 – 2006 seemed like Kenyans were trying to find their baring in terms of contemporary fashion.  People seemed too careful not to cross the line. When the flared pants became a hit, all women embraced them. Chains, belts and scarves were used as belts for those who wanted to look more edgy and were paired with either a bolero or dress tops.

The boys were conspicuously embracing hip-hop music by wearing everything baggy, a bandana wrapped around the neck and Timberland boots to match.

2007 – 2009 people donned light clear plain and solid colours with exuberant patterns and prints. Skinny jeans were introduced and all the girls were happy to loose the flared pants. Halter tops, short denim skirts with fishnet stockings and shiny Cargo pants.

2010 – 2011. Skinny jeans still dominated during this period but some girls rebelled with boyfriend trousers and jackets. Sling bags hit hard during this period

2012 – 2013:  Kenyans had already caught up with the world, fashion-wise, even showing signs of boredom and going back to the African trend by embracing ‘Kitenge’ for both men and women. Sexy transparent chiffons and layered sheers were the order of the day.  As the world went vintage with plaid shirts, colour block, high waist skirt and sling bags, Kenya was not left behind

2014 – 2015: This is the rocker chic revolution comprising of faux leather pants, boots and jackets. Women crave for elegance and sophistication hence going out of their way to look good with the ‘rich girl trend’.

Fashion has become so unpredictable that it is fun to just seat down and watch what happens in the years to come.

Writer is Communications Manager at Kaymu

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