The ‘big four’ fashion capitals of New York, London, Milan, and Paris may still draw in the biggest crowds, but across the world are countless hotbeds of unconstrained creativity where communities of young designers are flourishing. From Tbilisi to Lagos, Copenhagen, and Sydney, some of the most exciting clothes are coming out of destinations way off the beaten fashion path right now.
Spotlighting exactly what’s going on in one of these locations is Wauzine, which dedicates itself to championing the Kenya-based names to know. Now in its fourth issue, the publication this season takes on the name Kutoka Nairobi, which, if your Swahili isn’t up to scratch, translates to ‘From Nairobi’.
Across its pages this time around are works from Theresia Kyalo, who reinterprets Kenyan cornerstones into sleek, contemporary jewellery, Akiba, which looks to afro-futurism, film, and pop culture to turn out new takes on streetwear staples, and True Denim Collection, which – surprise! – creates conscious, sustainable denim looks. Get to know a few of them below, and click through the gallery above for a glimpse at the zine itself.
Established in 2021 by Akiba Haiozi, in the last two years Akiba Studios has become a go-to for Kenya’s cool kids. To call Haiozi a creative polymath would be an understatement: the designer works across oil painting and illustration, film and photography, and pulls inspiration from a deep well of reference points, including Kenyan culture, afro-futurism, and science fiction. The resulting collections centre slick contemporary tailoring, heavy duty denim, and streetwear-inflected silhouettes, with each offering injected with a touch of fantasy via chaotic hand-illustrated prints and finishes.
After graduating from a law degree, Theresia Kyalo decided the courtroom wasn’t for her and instead turned her hand to creating unique contemporary jewellery. Drawing inspiration from traditional African pieces but bringing them bang into the present day via clean, understated lines, Kyalo is keen to keep her pieces accessible, with hardy brass her material of choice. Also working across digital art and film, in 2020 the designer was given the ultimate co-sign, after Beyoncé listed her as a name to know on her list of Black creatives.
As one of the more established brands gracing the pages of Wauzine’s latest issue, Bonkerz was founded by Mvoo Wanji in 2011 and started out creating considered streetwear staples when the aesthetic was just beginning to flourish. With strong links to the music industry in Kenya, covetable capsules and collabs are a cornerstone of the brand. Collections comprise bold box logo-amblazoned hoodies, sweats, tracksuits, and stand-out outerwear pieces finished with wild, kaleidoscopic prints.