Image: Instagram Kenyans love fashion, they dress up and they go all out for every occasion. This colourful culture and shared appreciation for fashion inspires new and established designers to create unique designs that never disappoint.
The fashion industry in the East African country is as lively as anywhere else in the world and some of the biggest names in our continent and internationally are from there.
This list of fashion designers in Kenya is by no means comprehensive or in any order. However, it highlights 5 of the designers who have had a positive impact in the industry, and continue to show promise.
Wambui Mukenyi - WM Label
Wambui is one of the most sought-after designers in Kenya. She is the CEO of Wambui Mukenyi Fashion House. You will fall in love with her when you realise that she is not only one of the best, but that she is also self-taught.
Wambui founded her label “WM Label” (from her name) in 2009 with custom made outfits before branching out to African bridal wear. Since then, Wambui has never looked back. In fact, she is the first African designer to launch a full collection on a plane. Her collection was dubbed Wambui Mukenyi Luxe.
Image: Instagram The renowned designer has received national recognition for her designs and has become the face of Bridal Fashion in Kenya.
She is simple known in the industry as Yvonne Afrostreet, is a print expert. She has dressed Nigeria’s Afropop singer Yemi Alade, Flavour, Vanessa Mdee and Sauti Sol.
Image: Instagram The fashion line was started by three models in 2012; Yvonne Odhiambo, Melanie Wachie and Gloria Baraza, and they showcased their first collection later that year at Nairobi Fashion Market.
The popular designer has also dressed Big Brother Africa contestants from Kenya; Sabina Stadler and Melvin Alusa in 2014.
Aulgah is more contemporary in her approach to fashion. Her pieces can find a home on the Nairobi Fashion Week ramps just the same way they will be at home at Paris Fashion Week. Her rise to fame was faster, owing to the fact that she injected fresh blood into the then almost-redundant Kenya fashion scene.
- Mcensal Fashion House
We can never complete any list of Kenyan designers without a mention of her name. She is among the pioneers of the fashion industry in the country. Sally started her design house - the Mcensal Fashion House back in 1992 becoming one of the trend setters in the East African country.
Image: Instagram She has showcased all over the world including the Africa Fashion Week in New York. She is mostly remembered for being the first designer to incorporate the Maasai blanket/ “shuka” (a piece of cloth that is marked with red and black stripes and is worn by the Maasai people of Kenya), and the “kikoi” (a traditional rectangular piece of soft woven cloth) into her designs. That particular collection was dubbed “Made in Kenya by a Kenyan”.
Image: Instagram Her designs are generally inspired by contemporary Africa.
Image: Instagram Last but not least our list is rounded up by
Ann McCreath - KikoRomeo
Ann is another pioneer on the fashion scene. She founded her brand “KikoRomeo” which is a Swahili phrase that translates to “Adam’s Apple” , in 1996.
Ann’s brand is inspired by Kenyan culture, which you will easily notice from all her designs.
KikoRomeo has been at the forefront of the Kenyan fashion industry, inspiring a big number of young people to go into fashion.
She designs for both men and women using different prints and patterns including the use of the “Maasai shuka”, with a reputation of being one of the most sought-after fashion designers in Kenya.