MUST READ: Kenyan designers & stylists weigh in on the new police uniforms

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Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta just launched the police force’s new look.

Unfortunately, the new uniforms have not been well received by the general public; and especially so by the local fashion industry. The Sauce approached various fashion heavy-weights to gain their perspective on the new uniforms.  Devoid of character and the authority that the police force should carry, the new uniforms have failed to find favor with many. Here are their reactions and recommendations:

Brian Babu ( Fashion guru and Stylist)

CC: What do you think of the new police uniforms?

BB: “The execution was not done right. I wish it was a bit more trendy and stylish. Yes it is uniform, but it does not have to be hideous. They look more like prisoners than police officers. The problem is the cut and the fit especially so of the jacket. If I could change anything, I would switch out the shoes for boots and add a beret.”

Ondu Nick (Bespoke tailor for Men’s Suits)

CC: What do you think of the new police uniforms?

ON: The color is not police-like, it does not represent the authority the force carries. The fit is also not well done. This often happens with bulk orders; they do not consider individual measurements, understandably the supplier cannot measure every cop around the country. We’ve reached the point where something needs to be done to create a national image, and they should have consulted designers to achieve that. Let designers present their ideas and samples. Then it could be put to a public vote since the uniforms are being worn within our communities. The whole thing feels like a decision made in a boardroom, detached from the people it affects. If I could have changed anything, we would have stuck to navy blue and skewed the design for a better fit.

Esther Kalekye (Fashion Designer, House of Kaji)

CC: What do you think of the new police uniforms?

EK: They are not nice. The fabric looks cheap and the placement of the two pockets makes the uniforms look like a mechanic’s overall. Though they may have attempted to look like the Chinese force; the particular shade of blue does not match the skin tone of most Kenyans.

Instead, I wish that they have drawn inspiration from Kenya’s national flag. Allowing designers to tender for the design work would have allowed for a better result. If I could change anything, the pocket’s placement would have been smaller and better. Additionally, the uniforms may have been better in a darker brown; and perhaps the designs should have made considerations for better tailoring for the women’s trousers.

Henry Wanjala (Eco-fashion Consultant)

CC: What do you think of the new police uniforms?

HW: I think they are a reflection of the Moi Era; sad and dreary. They are too baggy and may be impractical. The shade of blue and the material chosen looks too heavy to serve as uniform. The style looks similar to the County Council’s uniform but in blue. The combination of the loose fit and poor color choice makes the new uniform lack in the authority associated with the police force.

If I could change anything, the addition of a hat would be a great choice not only serving as a functional choice for the officers out in the hot sun, and it would look great. In the process of coming up with these uniforms, it seems that the decisions were made by a board who did not care. They should have sought out the opinions of others such as fashion consultants, and members of the police force. In addition to this, the models chosen to showcase the new uniforms are old and overweight; a typical depiction of the force we have now and not the force we want. The uniforms depiction would not entice the youth to join the police force.

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