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African But Trendy

Fashion, African, trendy, African Fashion Fair

African outfits are considered acceptable to be worn only to formal gatherings and specific social functions. Wear a Kitenge top to a wedding and “you’re looking good!” Wear the same top to a house-party and you’re looking “unique”. The African-but-trendy look is one that has started taking place in the fashion world, and one landmark in the journey to full appreciation of the African in our fashion was the African Fashion Fair, that took place at Alliance Francaise in the month of September.

The Grand-finale to the Fair was a cat-walk at Le Jardin (The Garden), which highlighted the works of numerous fashion designers, all with the aim of making East Africa felt in the fasion-world. Their vision is that of a continent that appreciates the designers and models who include the rich African culture in their designs.

The catwalk had it covered – from brightly colored evening dresses, through to works inspired by the Coastal ‘leso’. I particularly liked the casual tops designed by students of the Buruburu Institute of Fine Art, a true expression of fashion from the youth’s eyes. They brought out the fusion of contemporary wear and African cultures on the runway, a feel that patriots like me die to see. African-but-trendy. They know the meaning of that phrase.

I spoke to Patrick Munene, one of the Kenyans waking up to the reality that the time has come for us to blend who we are with what we wear. Patrick is for the view that although the runway did showcase African designs, the bridge between good fashion and practicality to the youth was missing. He however acknowledged the appreciation some young people have for their age-mates who sport African wear. “When you dress in African clothes, at least sometimes people comment and say you’re looking good.”

With the increased reason for us as Kenyans to declare our love for our motherland, we should also increasingly display the richness and diversity of our cultures by sporting a beaded bracelet here, or a “Najivunia kuwa Mkenya” T-shirt. Make it African, but still remaining within the boundaries of fashion, lest we get the fashion cops making more arrests than they should. Keep it African-but-trendy.
Published: 2008-10-02
Author: Alvin Gachie

About the author or the publisher
I graduated from High School in the year 2007 and am currently working for Impact Communications Group as an Associate Editor. I write a column for their new publication, "Sikika", a magazine for the youth between the ages of 13 to 23. So far we have published our first issue of the magazine, which is published every two months.

I have a good command of English, both in spoken and written. I am also confident in my research capability, as I enjoy reading and hence can consult archives, both.

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