Hello Peaches, welcome back to my blog. Let’s talk fashion today, shall we? Specifically, the Art & Fashion event that I came across on my Twitter timeline which was scheduled on Saturday, 9/12/17. I’m that kind of person who’d go out of the house searching for inspiration as opposed to just laying back waiting for life to happen to me, rather, I go out and make life happen (dear future hubby reading this post, please bear with me 🙃). Also, a bit of fresh air is good for the mind, body and soul because my head is not safe, ganged up with all these crazy voices. Come to think of it, I’ve never physically attended any fashion shows (none that I can remember) in Nairobi or anywhere before. It’s safe to say that the Art & Fashion event I attended on Saturday at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was my very first: exhibition of artists, fashion designers, and photography.
First of all, the entrance was free (I mean, it’s in a mall) so I don’t think I’m in a position to rant, however, it was scheduled at 1500 hours but it commenced at around 1700 hours; African timers! (I just had to). On the bright side though, Westgate is a huge mall so there are more things you could do, like shop around while admiring all the glamorous festive Christmas decors that beautified the mall or watch a movie while waiting. That’s the strategy I guess.
Marvelous visual art pieces exhibitions at the entrance walkway of the mall got me mesmerized. Actually, I do enjoy casual art viewing, appreciating people’s creativity efforts and handicraft. I perceive visual Art to be deeper than just a picture; a display of someone’s infinite imagination and emotions on canvas which in my opinion, make artists alchemists. ‘A picture is a poem without words,’ – Horace. Although I’m not an Art expert, I enjoy connecting with artists through gazing at their artworks using my ‘third eye’; it’s a magical feeling!
Live art was also happening as one of the artists present showcased his art by drawing live face portraits on paper in 15 minutes at a cost of kshs. 500. This cute Chinese lady was seated facing him as he scrutinized her facial features copying them with his hand and pencil on plain paper. He really tried as the lady looked well pleased, but in my opinion, it wouldn’t pass for her clone. However, that was a job well done.
Moreover, there was entertainment of acrobatics and African traditional drummers. The drums thudded louder in the mall at the rhythm of the beats created by the drummers who were in sync while singing at the top of their lungs in some vernacular language only they could understand. Kids were given the chance to play too which was cute to watch.
Entrance to the event on the same first floor, we were welcomed by a fun photo booth accessorized with masks, emojis, funky glasses, and funny word props. The lovely couple behind the Nairobiphotoboothco. was still testing the lights and all so I got a little time to converse with them. They are a new funky photo booth business owners in Nairobi up for hire in events at a cost of kshs. 45,000 @ 2hours. Oh and you can post your pictures directly to your social media platforms with an extra Kshs. 10,000. Pretty cool huh? I captured a few picture shots for the fun of it and joined the guests for the event which had an outstanding set up. From the Djs to the perfectly positioned runway stage.
Kids were the first to bless the runway modeling cute designers’ outfits. They were so adorable and brave strutting down the runway as boys walked with a bounce while the little girls did a cat walk swaying their tiny waists on stage.
This little boy stole the show with his somersaults tricks. Yes, literally, he was rolling on stage in somersaults which amused everyone in the audience. Well done boy!
Next performance was the fun display of acrobatics followed by yoga that was showcased by 3 flexible ladies in their yoga outfits, lying on their yoga mats stretching their bodies in specific postures which had specific health and fitness benefits. One of my favorite body workouts that I paid closer attention to was of the tummy, as I prefer mine flat and toned (wishful thinking 😫).
The MCs of the event: media fashion maven, former Miss India Kenya & radio host Pinky Ghelani and Aisha Wanjiku, entertained their audience making us more engaged. We were all requested to join the enthusiastic traditional drummers who had so much energy in teaching us drumming basics. I joined the fun too of course. The traditional drummers got into their positions and so did we, with drums and sticks following beginner-steps-instructions which made it look so easy but tiring doing it faster. At some point though, it almost felt like a juju magic ritual like those in Nigerian movies, however, it was an exuberant euphoric moment for everyone drumming and watching too. Most importantly, I’m glad that I did something new that Saturday as it was such an exciting & exhilarating experience.
There was a professional graffiti artist too, who did the graffiti paint live with his multi-colorful spray paints on canvas, unlike the murals painted illicitly on the wall streets of Nairobi. His dedication and focus inspired us since he started at 1600 hours nonstop for four good hours. It was remarkable to see how well he painted a hot woman’s face graffiti perfectly with just spray paint on a huge canvas (those luscious lips are goals!).
Later on, the adult models came on stage. Mr. Dj entertained us with some nice jams as they strutted down the runway. The diversity of the models was quite attractive. Also, seeing melanin Kenyan models modeling for Indian designers in Indian outfits was pretty interesting to watch. All the models (both male and female) were stunning, facing the audience in opposite sides while posing with so much elegance as they showcased different designers’ outfits: sport wear from Sports Planet, party & dinner dresses from, Couture, make up from Madora & Lintons Beauty, and casual outfits among others. Some of the gorgeous pieces modeled were showcasing African’s diverse culture’s creativity and heritage with their customized Lesos and Ankaras from Maisha Kenya, and local brands such as Sandstorm and Bata.
For the record, the MCs, Pinky Ghelani and Aisha Wanjiku were good at entertaining their audience, cheering us by selecting randomly a few ladies and gents from the audience to model on stage. Some of us shied away while a bold few took the dare. It was so hilarious, in a good way of course.
For refreshments, we had drinks and delicious snacks sponsored by Art caffe.
What I gathered from the Art & Fashion event is that all these stalls of designer clothes, bags, accessories and shoes are a product of hard work through years of tears and sweat, in that, it takes balls to decide venturing into any business as it requires a lot of upfront thinking, capital, consistency, and persistence because trends die so fast due to our fast fashion era. Supposedly, it takes hard work from design and development, to production, supply and logistics (which need a lot of quality control by the way), to Marketing & PR, and sales & distribution which you’d need some e-commerce & IT skills with a background research of the best brand outreach methods like choosing the right social media platforms to use. Simply because we – the tech-savvy millennials being the most influential consumer group in the fashion industry – have officially gone digital fully adapting to the online world. Also, it’s a challenging commitment and a full time job to sustain a fashion business as you would need to constantly keep your creativity ball rolling due to the fast fashion growth of millenials in the competitive fashion industry. Despite the Kenyan fashion industry seeming a little too saturated, the barriers of entry happen to be quite low because of the elusive trend-savvy millenials hence exposed to threat of new entrants – Michael Porter’s five forces – since all new fashionistas’ designers strive to be unique and innovative. However, that’s my observation as there was a point in my life just recently when I wanted to venture into the fashion business myself that I did a lot of extensive research but wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment (yet!).
Therefore, all the artists and designers in the Art & Fashion event and all out there who don’t get enough credit deserve several claps as recognition for their hard work in creating unique art & clothes pieces and in attracting loyal clients. As a result, it will inspire fashion enthusiasts and aspirants.
Last but not least, a standing ovation goes to all the hosts, MCs, designers, photographers, drummers, yoga performers, gorgeous models, choreographers, Djs, artists and all the sponsors of the event for making it entertaining. There was so much entertainment, striking displays of art, and flamboyant fashion designs which inspired me to activate my creative switch.
Top & sleeveless coat: LcWaikiki