Kenya to disrupt fashion at its core with upcoming event

The fashion spotlight will fall on Nairobi on 10 November this year, as ‘The Core Fashion Kenya’ disrupts the legacy fashion week format to address changing consumer behavior.

 “Worldwide consumer and fashion trends are being fundamentally transformed by evolving technology and the resultant digital disruption experienced across industries. Today’s customers come with both an ‘engage me’ and a ‘wow me’ expectation – plus they want the buying experience to be personalized and made easy. At the same time, the fashion industry needs to embrace the increased connectivity of our lives and look at different strategies for sustainable growth,” says Jan Malan, internationally acclaimed producer at Umzingeli Productions and show director of The Core Fashion Kenya.

The event, which is set to attract more than 300 fashion enthusiasts and features three local and nine international designers, will turn the usual fashion runway format on its head and showcase collections in a completely different way through “fashion presentations”. In addition it will follow the new “see now, buy now” trend spurred on by social media, where clothes are made available for sale immediately after appearing.

The unique fashion presentations will be held at the state-of-the art Simba Corp Aspire Centre in Nairobi, followed on 11 November by a day of “pop up shops” at the stylish and luxurious Tamarind Tree Hotel, located to the southwest of the city within the spacious Carnivore Grounds.

“Our aim is to give fashion a renewed energy by delivering a creative and innovative customer experience. The largest customer base today are the millennials, having overtaken the baby boomers in numbers, and also having grown up with disruption and technology at their fingertips. We are therefore convinced that by transforming how fashion, brands and designers are presented optimizes both the brand and customer interaction, as well as the supply chain and operational model of designers and brands,” adds Linda Murithi, organizer and founder of The Core Fashion Kenya.

Kenyan-born Murithi is also CEO of In The Bag Ltd, a fashion and retail company she started while living in the USA. She moved back to East Africa almost 10 years ago, and headed up the first radio station broadcasting in English in Ethiopia. Recognizing Africa as an emerging fashion hub with the strength to create sustainable development, and also realizing that the continent’s fashion industry needed a boost to increase both the buyers-to-designers and designers-to-manufacturers channels, Murithi co-founded the Hub of Africa Fashion Week. She today resides in Nairobi.

“Naturally, by being at the forefront of disruption, the fashion industry in Kenya can develop its core capabilities now in order to have a vast and positive impact in the near future,” she points out.

 Nairobi-based PR and media specialist Diana Opoti, from 100 days of African Fashion fame, will focus on publicity for the innovative event, and supports Murithi and Malan in their fashion ethos. Opoti was recently named as only one of two Africans in the Business of Fashion (BoF) 500, the definitive professional index of the people shaping the USD2.4 trillion fashion industry.

Kenyan designers who will take part in The Core Fashion Kenya event are Adele Dejak, Anyango Mpinga and Katungulu Mwendwa. Designers from across Africa will join them. They are Madagascan, Eric Raisina (based in Cambodia); Rwandan, Haute Baso; and South Africans, ERRE and newcomers, Quiteria & George; Tanzania’s, Sheria Ngowi and Anissa Mpungwe; Cameroonian, Anna Ngann Yonn (Kreyann’); and Nigerian, Tokyo James (based in the UK). Botswana’s best designer, who will be revealed at a showcase in Gabarone on 21 October, will also partake.

“Together with these designers, we are shaking up the industry. As the fashion industry becomes more customer-centric, we are pleased to support local and regional design by making edgy, fresh and excellent quality garments affordable without losing integrity. This means, even in a world that has in the last few years changed more rapidly than at any other time, we thoroughly believe there should be no such thing as fast fashion and our ecological footprint must continuously be considered.

“Embracing the central theme of digitization, we are boosting a seamless fashion world that blends operational excellence with heightened brand awareness. And this can have a real impact on the desired economic growth and development of a region. Prepare to be surprised!” concludes Murithi.

Sponsors supporting The Core Fashion Kenya include Tamarind Tree Hotel, Simba Corp, Capital FM, MAC Cosmetics, Moët Hennessy, Overmind Associates, Maison Interactive, Legacy XP, Zumi, Rift Valley Leather, Amadiva, Karen Country Lodge, Barista Coffee Lounge and Mochez.
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