Country – Kenya
Age – 24
Growing up with my mum as a fashion designer, I have always been surrounded by highly skilled tailors and artisans, playing dress-up with the clothes in the shop and claiming the bargain box in the corner of the shop as my designated spot after school. With time, I began to take a keener interest in my role in fashion and exploring my talents and putting to practice the skills I had picked up along the way.
In 2013 I launched Kikoti, a brand aimed at global youth, making it a younger, more accessible version of KikoRomeo for all my contemporaries to be able to fulfil our desires to be on-trend and in tune with global pop-culture, but at the same time, honouring our African heritage and forming a fusion between the culture that we consumed through media and that which we come from.
Together with fashion, I have always been very passionate about wildlife, thus, the line served to raise awareness around conservation, with a primary focus on Elephants, with an aim at selling into the Far-East concentrating on the markets with the highest demand and consumption of Ivory, to provide a product that would fulfil materialistic desires and serve as an alternative status symbol, which Ivory has been. Although this seemed like a tall task, I felt that I would be able to make a change by educating the younger generation on the real-life consequences.
Moving to the UK for university I struggled with juggling the brand and my studies. Thus, I decided to take a break. I attended Central Saint Martins for a Foundation Course and went on to study Sociology at LSE. Upon graduating I decided to step into KikoRomeo, where I am now Creative Director. Whilst maintaining my role at KikoRomeo, I have decided to rebrand Kikoti and launch under the name Ziwa.
A fully sustainable and ethical brand, Ziwa is a brand that seeks to capture the inner beauty and magic that we all hold within us. Rooted in what it is to be African, through the brand, I will explore the dichotomy, many of us now find ourselves in as we navigate a highly globalised world. On one hand, we have our heritage anchoring us and on the other is a whirlwind of experiences which serve to help us grow in some instances but also unroot us and tear us down. At the heart of the brand is the ethos of being united and at peace with the natural world around us and deriving strength and inspiration from it. Thus, it will still have a strong relationship with wildlife and conservation with a percentage of sales going to different conservation programmes. The silhouettes serve to portray the complexity of our personalities as we navigate the world around us, the sides we put out and our inner world which we rarely let out.
Ziwa is a new brand under the company Kiro LTD which is most known for the brand name KikoRomeo.
The Ziwa site is set to launch fully in November and so I have included the details of KikoRomeo too for reference to my work.