Contemporary African fashion is one of my favourite topics, and this is because of the amazing work that is done by African designers and designers who are keen on interpreting African culture through fashion, clothing, print and trends. Having worked with a couple of young vibrant designers like Akisa of Wangari Mathenge , who is behind the amazing kimonos and shirts seen HERE and HERE , as well as Robert Mandela of Roma Designs Africa , who is behind some of my favourite looks , seen HERE and HERE. These are some of the designers I have worked with here in Nairobi and I cannot wait to work with more , if you have any in mind , you can drop me a comment or send me a message via my email email@example.com .
Back to today's post, I work closely with Robert Mandela and I share ideas and different concepts with him , from my dashiki dust-coat to this Ankara infused sweater. I had this sweater custom made for last year's edition of Kenya Fashion Awards , because I wanted something simple , yet bold with a touch of African. I am big on streetwear and I love my sweaters! This sweater is perfect for the ever-changing Nairobi weather and I usually style it with black chinos or black dress pants.
The Ankara fabric is very vibrant and has elements of red, and he (Robert) was keen on matching the colour of the fabric with the colour of the material. It is very important when having something custom made , you need to discuss with the tailor or designer on colour schemes and colour matching , because you do not want to look like a clown (unless that is the look that you are going for).
Another tip when getting custom clothing made is that you would need to have a couple of fittings. Fittings are necessary because you get to alter and change what needs to be changed, this can be as small as changing the sleeve length to major changes like changing the complete colour scheme. Luckily, when you work closely and repeatedly with the designer , he or she gets to fully understand your taste, your preferences and your body. This saves a lot of time of back and forth , but needs to have you and the designer fully invested on terms of building your relationship.
The beauty about getting custom clothing made is that, you will have a statement that will be a creative collaboration between you and another creative. This helps push and create an agenda within not only the fashion industry but also with the African creative scene.
What are some of the custom clothing or items you have had made and how was that experience?
Sweater and Chino Pants by Roma Designs Africa
Chelsea Boots from The Raim
Photography by ImSoGabriel