Vivid colours, incredible fabrics, ornate jewellery and music took centre stage as Kenya’s fashion aficionados converged for the Kenya Fashion Awards to crown the most stylish of them all.
The glamorous event held on Saturday at the Brookhouse International School celebrated excellence and the contributions of designers, fashion photographers, models, fashion stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists and creatives in Kenya’s fashion industry.
"AM Live", which airs on weekday mornings on NTV and is hosted by Sheila Mwanyigha, Kobi Kihara and Debarl Ainea, took home the media fashion category for having the best fashion segment in the country, while the Sunday Nation’s Carol Odero, emerged the media personality of the year for the second year running.
Katungulu Mwendwa, Victor Pearce, Muthoni Njoba and Sylvia Njoki were voted the best designer, photographer, make-up artist and stylist respectively.
Retailers Adelphi scooped the best prize for best fashion store while Kazuri bagged the Wezesha award for empowering communities. Joan Lydia was named the best student designer of the year.
The awards, now in their third year, seek to harness the wealth of fashion talent across Kenya and East Africa.
According to the organisers, the future of fashion in Kenya looks bright and is shaping up as the fashion capital of the region as it is known for its diversity and richness in culture.
“Kenyan brands are recognised and even revered worldwide. However, several otherwise well-known brands remain unfamiliar to the public in Kenya,” they said.
Mr Atman Ngau, a director of the awards, said fashion could create jobs for many young people.
“Kenya Fashion Awards is raising an awareness of the importance of developing this economic sector by creating opportunities for the youth, mentoring, recognising and empowering them,” he said.
This year’s event was themed “Fashion Meets Music”, with popular music act Elani playing the part of muse and judge to the student designers.
Drama was provided in the theatrical fashion show by models, who took to the runway to showcase various creations by new and established designers working inside and outside Kenya.
Accessory makers Nyakiige Ndung’u and Elizaveta Prishutova kicked off the fashion show with a display of pieces made from recycled materials.
Galina Tatarinova, a Russian designer, presented a collection of extravagant capes and gowns of fur and velvet and lace with metallic hints suitable for a Kenyan czarina.
Elise Adan of Tulia presented classy caftans and laid-back bathtub-style wrap dresses in blocks of neon colours for a glamorous cosmopolitan African woman with flawless draping.
Vaishalia Morjaria and Sheenu Hooda showcased a fusion of Kenya-Indian handmade items, reinterpreting Indian wear in a very easy-to-wear way.
Ulgah Nato presented a collection of trendy and fashionable urban girl in dusky oranges and yellows inspired by the sun and dust of Nairobi featuring playful dresses, jumpsuits and regal off-shoulder gowns.
For the urbane men, her outfits drew inspiration from the sky for calm collected whites and blue and turquoise.
Yvonne Odhiambo, of Afrostreetkollections presented urban outfits made of African fabrics with bold prints and colours against contrasting backgrounds of black and white.
Mohammed Bana, in a departure from the norm, shocked the audience when he sent male models down the runway stripped down to the bare minimum while the women followed, all dressed up for business in work-ready outfits of red and monochrome black and white.
The evening, however, belonged to Pamela Mbela - last year’s winner - whose collection of simple clean lines, intricate detailing and sophisticated silhouettes earned her a standing ovation.