Kenyan designers for Boston Fashion Week

The two young men behind Blackbird Jeans are gearing up for their upcoming line-up at the Boston Fashion Week, which runs from September 23-30.

The gig is one of many that the young men managed to secure after making their first international trip in fashion to New York for the Africa Fashion Week in July.

“In November we are showing at a University in Albany, New York. In October we are taking part in a show called Fashion for Famine to help ease the suffering in the Horn of Africa. In December, we are flying to Addis Ababa for the HUB Fashion week and then in January, we will have our own show in New York, to showcase our spring collection,” says one of the designers Zeddy Lukoe.

To cap it all off the boys in black will also have a show in Memphis, Tennessee in February, 2012.

Zeddy and his partner Sidney Owino barely made it for the Africa Fashion Week in New York in July because they could not afford a ticket. They described their fortune after that as a miracle and have proven themselves worthy of the chance and assistance given to them.

“If you are young and have big dreams, don’t listen to that inner voice that tells you not to do it. Do it! So that you can suppress that discouraging voice,” says Zeddy in an email interview.

With thanks to Kenyan Tracy Kebatta, who works for US designer Michael Kors, the duo got a shot at the Africa Fashion Week in New York (AFWNY) after successfully designing a fashion item for her.

“May the good Lord bless her,” they told Capital Lifestyle.

Zeddy and Sidney have also managed to fit the launch of a t-shirt line in between their busy schedule.

“It’s called SWAG – Something We Africans Got. This line will make up part of our collections for Boston Fashion Week and HUB Fashion Week. They are unique not only in design, but affordable and of good quality.”

Because of their success in the AFWNY, they were the only Kenyan representatives to feature among 15 top designers as rated by recently.

Their ‘ankara printed harem pants’, ‘masai-plaid inspired suits’, won the day and they were feted by essence for reinterpreting men’s suiting.

Zeddy and Sidney featured alongside Ghana’s Ozwald Boateng, David Tlale of South Africa, Maki Oh of Nigeria and Somali twins Idyll and Ayaan Mohallim among others.

Lessons learnt from their globe-trotting?

“We have learnt to trust our passion and pursue it no matter what.”

They added: “Kenyan designers need support. There are so many who are on the right track by they need support. Even with models, agencies need to stop stealing their money and treat them as professionals. That is the only way the industry can grow as it should!”


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