Africa is filled with so much inspiration especially in the art, fashion and music scene. The bold take their time to cultivate their craft as they seek a platform to showcase the best work they’ve got. The fashion scene in Kenya is taking its time when it comes to growth but hey, Rome wasn’t built-in a day. Talent is evident, what is lacking could be a certain level of appreciation and recognition.
The use of African print fabric is a tradition in the African fashion industry that is not going out of style anytime soon. African designers have found incredible ways to use African print fabrics. They create modern, yet trendy pieces that are inspired by western designs. A good example would be the Kimono. This is currently one of the most trendy cover ups and different brands have created collections with their signature touch. Meanwhile, some local designers have found ways to turn these basic cover ups into the most wanted items in every fashion enthusiast’s closet.
Wangari Mathenge is one of these young local designers who is making her mark in the fashion industry, slowly but surely.
The entire idea behind this brand is to dress the free spirit; one who dresses to impress no one else but themselves.
As a designer, she has found ways to make fabrics work to her exact personal approach. She prefers quirky cuts and volume to create the ultimate Wangari Mathenge piece.
When I said Africa has a lot that can inspire in fashion, I was referring to the inspiration behind brands like Wangari Mathenge. Before becoming a designer, her main profession was as a PR officer for an Environment Conservation company. This enabled her to experience tourism and travel as a part of her job description. She enjoyed her travels to the Maasai Mara. Here, the Maasai way of dressing using a simple “Shuka” gave her the idea! The idea on how to design the perfect poncho or kimono using similar fabrics.
Wangari Mathenge is heavily inspired by traditional African attires and the brand has definitely caught on with the local fashion community.
The kimono is the brands’ most popular piece and has graced runways at events like Fashion Bloggers Runway back in 2017. Fortunately, we were in the building and seeing is believing. They look just as exceptional in person and the crowd agreed by the incredible applause her designs received.
If kimonos are not for you (yet somehow I doubt that), not to worry because the brand has a lot more than just kimonos in their collection.
There are a number of style bloggers, fellow designers and fashion personas that swear by her designs. Every day is a growing opportunity and from what I see, the sky is definitely the limit for Wangari.
Wangari Mathenge takes her inspiration from her professional surroundings, a clear indication that your talent is deep within you. All you need is the right inspiration at the right time. The local support her brand is receiving is impressive. Moreover, it is definitely a step in the right direction for our industry.