UK clothing brand names their collections using Kenyan tribe names.
A British clothing brand by the name Koy clothing that was founded in 2016, is taking things to the next level by making Kenyan inspired clothing items and naming their pieces such as coats and shirts after Kenyan tribe names.
The Fashion brand has items such as Nusu Luo jacket, Nusu Kamba jacket, Luo and Mara jackets as well as Oxford white Luo shirt are on sale on their website. They combine authentic African fabric kikoy and other elements such as the popular hand made Maasai beads, with a touch of British style.
According to information from the brand’s website, the Koy clothing is run by two brothers, Alastair & Jimmy Scott. The two were raised in Africa and now have the ambition to help support the indigenous cultures of Kenya through luxury fashion. Growing up in East Africa and going to school in the UK put them in a unique position to incorporate both worlds, and help support the country they grew up in.
An excerpt from the website reads, “We have learned so much, and with greater knowledge, comes greater responsibility. The more we learned about cultural influences in fashion, we realized that many brands around the world use cultural inspirations within their designs. Sadly, not all of those brands give recognition to the cultures which inspired them. This was a chance for us to try and change this mindset and demonstrate to others the value of cultural inspiration. We do this by giving 5% of every purchase to projects within the communities of Kenya that our products are inspired by.”
According to a report by Down to Earth, more than 1,000 companies, including fashion brands Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Victoria Secrets, and Ralph Lauren, have all used Maasai iconography to sell their products, and many fashion companies have allegedly even used their name (with minor modifications) as a trademark. However, in 2018, the Maasai struck their first deal with Koy Clothing, which agreed to pay a license to use Maasai-based designs for their clothing line.
There are 43 tribes in Kenya and what these brothers aim to do with the Koy Clothing brand is helping in supporting and promoting as many Kenyan brands as possible through fashion thus putting all Kenya’s tribes ‘on the map’.