Something rare happened recently, I found a proper Kaftan dress in an open market in Kenya’s coastal city, Mombasa. Truth is, there were literally hundreds of such dresses, most of them in same colors and design, quite ugly to be honest. But I really needed a lounge dress being in such intense heat and humidity. And being the skilled shopper I am, I was able to spot this dress for the gem it was in a sea of non-special attire. The turquoise color and pretty pattern obviously drew me closer and once I saw that embroidery below the chest I was sold. And this is how I ended up with a seemingly decent kaftan dress at a throwaway price. And that my friends, is art. Shopping is an art ?
But this experience left me wondering why it is so difficult to find reasonably priced beautiful pieces in Kenya, so that when that happens it is a cause for celebration. Like why can’t I just feel that a piece of clothing is worth what I’m spending on it? I mean we have amazing upcoming designers toiling day and night to make nice clothes but where in God’s name are they selling them? Because believe you me I have looked. And all I see flooding my Facebook page is ads of generic ill-designed clothes ‘imported’ from China with fabric that’s literally falling apart. Their Turkey and Thailand counterparts are so damn boring yet they cost an arm and a leg. Let’s not even get to clothes from the UK and the US… And when I go to the mall to do actual shopping, I haven’t found even two pieces that to me are worth the top dollar they expect me top pay for them. So even as I try to wear Kenyan and support our economy I am still being pulled to the beauty of online shopping, with brands tried and tested that always give me value for my money. So far I have only found some nice local brands on Jumia with some reasonably priced pieces worth a glance. And a select few others that I like to shop from (all the ones I feature here). But that’s the exception not the norm! Why? I really want this to change though and I am making it my personal quest to go out there and look for more decent local fashion retailers and designers to work with. So if you’re one, please hit me up. And sorry for the rant I’m just frustrated.
I just don’t get it, what are we doing wrong in the Kenya fashion industry? I think I need to do some research and come back to y’all with answers. Because for the life of me, I can’t seem to find nice clothes on these Kenyan fashion streets. Maybe I’m too poor to afford expensive clothes, or maybe I’m too choosy; I don’t know. Or maybe I should be the change I want to see and go out there and solve this problem. Meanwhile though, please enjoy more pictures of my beautiful kaftan that I am proud to call a total score! Perfect loungewear in this hot weather !! I also love that you can dress it up to step out and it’s also perfect for the beach. So win-win.
Dress: A market in Mombasa
Sandals: Thrift at Toi Market
Watch: Anne Klein