Nairobi News

BlogCoffee BreakHashtagHustleMust ReadThe Millennial

Revolutionary: Kenyan fashion designers dominating the fashion game in 2023

The Kenyan fashion scene has witnessed a remarkable metamorphosis in competitiveness in recent years, establishing itself as a vibrant and dynamic industry. The country’s fashion designers and brands have been at the forefront, showcasing their creativity and talent on both local and international platforms. 

With a rich blend of traditional African aesthetics and contemporary styles, Kenyan fashion has gained global recognition for its unique and authentic designs. The industry has also been boosted by the emergence of fashion events and shows that provide a platform for designers to showcase their collections and attract potential buyers. 

Furthermore, the increasing availability of online platforms and social media has enabled Kenyan designers to reach a wider audience, making their mark on the global fashion map. As a result, the Kenyan fashion scene is witnessing fierce competition among designers, with each striving to push boundaries, innovate, and make a lasting impression in the ever-evolving world of fashion.

Catherine Mayeye

Kate Mayeye is a Kenyan designer inspired by West African culture. She is the CEO and founder of African Fabrics and Designs Kenya Ltd. Kate Mayeye introduced a different fashion culture in Kenya and beyond, placing the African print on the world map. This highly esteemed all Kenyan brand has become synonymous with the artistry and craftsmanship of couture fabrics in African prints and Ankara designs. With a deep-rooted appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Kenya and the African continent, Catherine Mayeye has successfully blended traditional aesthetics with contemporary fashion trends, creating a truly unique and vibrant brand.

Sally Karago

Sally Karago is a fashion design veteran who pioneered the fashion industry since the early 90s when she launched the Mcensal fashion house. Since then, she’s never stopped gracing the Kenyan fashion scene. In 2009, Sally founded the Mcensal school of fashion to give up-and-coming fashion designers a solid foundation when venturing into their careers.

Sally was the first fashion designer to incorporate Maasai blanket and Kikoi fabric into her designs, inspired by contemporary Africa. In 2014, Sally Karago added yet another brand under her belt. The SK Collection is a ready-to-wear line for all ages. This steady and versed fashion designer has won many accolades including the Smirnoff Awards Kenya and the Mnet Face of Africa.

Faith ‘Manciny’ Migwi

Faith ‘Manciny’ Migwi has made her name in the Kenyan fashion scene. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Faith because she is also self-taught. In 2012, Faith Migwi dived into the deep end of this pool, which is the fashion and design industry in Kenya, where she started off by designing clutches and bags made from recycled plastic paper bags.

Faith ‘Manciny’ Migwi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Faith is the brainchild of the Manciny Designs, a man’s wear brand inspired by contemporary Africa. She is also the founder of  “Nyadhi”, a women’s wear brand, and “The Urban Gentleman”, a men’s brand that provides styling and design services for men.

Patricia Mbela 

Patricia Mbela has loved fashion and garment construction since childhood and at the age of 14, young Patricia decided that she would become a fashion designer. She has been showcasing her talent through fashion and jewelry design for 16 years and is ranked among Africa’s top fashion and jewelry designers, producing for both men and women.

Patricia Mbela. PHOTO | COURTESY

The fashion designer is based in Nairobi and is the proud owner of the famed House of Agano. Patricia is also the founder of the label, Poisa. The label has transformed how Kenya views fashion, due to its uniqueness. Patricia was among the two designers chosen to provide for the Nokia face of Africa shoot. She likes to call her brand “Wearable Art” which has been showcased all over the world.

John Kaveke

Founded in 2001, the John Kaveke label is the brainchild of a twist on contemporary African bespoke tailoring style. John Kaveke is one of the most sought-after designers in Kenya.

His designs have graced catwalks such as African London Fashion Week {London}, Sarajevo Fashion Week (Bosnia), Hub of Africa (Ethiopia), Swahili Fashion Week (Tanzania), Uganda Fashion Week (Uganda), M-Net Face of Africa (Nigeria), The Big Brother Africa House (South Africa), Catwalk Kenya (Nairobi), Lake Magadi project, Festival for African Fashion & Art (Nairobi), and the International Smirnoff Fashion Awards (Nairobi).

Vivienne Taa

Vivienne Taa is a key figure in the African fashion industry. The founder of the renowned fashion house Vivienne Taa specializes in blending African prints, contemporary fabric, and designs into beautifully styled exotic clothes and accessories for fashion lovers, both men, and women.

Vivienne Taa. PHOTO | COURTESY

Her brand is also known for creating fashionably bespoke, occasional, and bridal wear, custom-made uniforms, and ready-to-wear clothing. Although her brand is new to the market, it has made tremendous growth, set apart by its innovation and skillful attention to detail. Her designs draw inspiration from the African culture, especially music, and art.

Wambui Mukenyi 

Wambui Mukenyi is a steady, pro, and versed fashion designer in the industry. Though self-taught, Wambui Mukenyi has received national recognition. The founder of the WM Label has been showcasing her love for luxurious fabric, whilst at the same time instilling her African heritage to produce timeless, feminine, and elegant pieces since 2009.

Wambui Mukenyi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Wambui then extended her brand into making African wedding gowns and ready-to-wear clothes full of creativity and style. Her effortlessly stylish and creative pieces, known to reflect her client’s personality and style, have been featured in many fashion magazines in Kenya.