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My dress my choice: the cultural shift in Nairobi’s fashion landscape

By Winnie Onyando September 12th, 2023 2 min read

Transitioning from rural areas to the bustling city of Nairobi often brings about a cultural shock for many individuals.

While numerous people in rural regions have embraced the changes associated with globalization, the issue of immodest clothing has sparked considerable controversy.

For centuries, the matter of indecent dressing primarily concerned women, with parents taking extra care to ensure their children, especially girls, were dressed modestly.

Women would cover up themselves when in the presence of their parents and other males.

With the proliferation of internet access and social media interaction, various cultures have melded together, borrowing from one another.

Skimpy dressing was once associated primarily with Western culture, but it has now become prevalent across nations, and applicable to all genders.

Many millennials associated revealing clothing with prostitution, but GenZ has embraced it as a lifestyle, especially in higher educational institutions.

For numerous students transitioning to universities, particularly those who were raised outside Nairobi, adapting to trendy fashion, sometimes involving skimpy attire, can be quite a challenge.

As fashion continues to evolve, many individuals have adopted bold fashion styles that often leave the majority dressed provocatively or even partially naked.

Traditional notions of modesty, once attributed to men, have given way to tight jeans and open-shirt styles, showcasing their chests.

Some find themselves walking a fine line between fashion and indecency.

Currently, many young people emulate the attire of their favorite artists from stage performances in their daily dress, embracing what they perceive as fashionable.

Some of these artists promote ridiculous attire that makes no sense but the youngsters never mind, many have idolized their favorite musicians who have become a huge part of their lives.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that artists aim to attract attention and promote their music through their appearance, a fact often overlooked by the younger generation.

Several Kenyan universities have implemented measures to promote modesty on campus, which, while helpful, may not always translate to similar behavior off-campus.

While fashion is undoubtedly captivating, it is essential to strike a balance to ensure decency.”

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