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The Pulse of High-Fashion in Africa: Kenyan Fashion and Style Trends

Africa is known for great fashion trends. Almost every day, we can see new fashion trends emerging in Africa. The best of which can be seen in Kenyan Fashion and style trends. Modern fashion in Kenya is not that different from other countries, but they have re-created everything in their unique way. It’s how they differentiate themselves in fashion trends. We can always see creative new fashions emerging from Kenya. Africa isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to high fashion. The current fashion scene in Kenya is changing the way we look at the African fashion industry.

Kenyan Fashion

Modern Kenyan fashion takes many style cues from the United States and many other countries. Kenyans have changed it a bit to fit their culture and environment. For an example when others are wearing a blouse or skirt, you will see Kenyan wearing khanga. It’s a similar style of clothing deriving from traditions. Favorite Kenyan style also includes clothing called red-checked Shuka (Maasai blankets). This type of clothing is typically reserved for a local tribe or village member with lots of power and influence in the community. Masai is the traditional dress for Masai women in Kenya. They also wear plate like necklaces and similar accessories.

Kenyan Fashion
[Image: YEMA]

Traditional Kenyan fashion has had influences from many regions. Many of these influences come from the Middle East region. For example, if you refer to everyday items worn by Kenyan women, you’ll come across an embroidered Jelabiya. This gown is very famous in the Gulf states but its famous in Africa too.

Kenyan fashion is evident with a variety of their traditional clothing. Dresses are typically called Masaiare dress (national attire of Kenya), Masai, Kanga, and more. These outfits are usually dressed up with accessories on the neck and wrist. They use many decorating items and things to bright-up their dresses. They make use of bracelets, bead headdresses, necklaces, etc. These are made with gems or handicrafts found around the country.

Kenyan Fashion
[Image: Arthur Keef of Keef Photography / Co-be]

If we look at modern Kenyan style trends compared to the entire continent of Africa, we will see one of the liveliest fashion industries. To talk more about them, we can start with artistic designs like the tradition of Kitenge. It is something connecting street artists with professionals to create the latest design trends. These trends have attracted the interest of many celebrities to begin wearing them. In footwear, rubber shoes are the most exciting trend that most Nairobi people wear for their design and style. Shoes typically get decorated with colored art to brighten them up to make their style standout.

Kenyan Fashion

In Africa, people prefer slim fit designs. Men and women can be seen wearing slimmer fit shirts, pants, dresses, etc. For women, another current Kenyan style trend is the pencil skirts. For men, a trendy buzzword ‘athleisure’ is very prominent. It’s is a combination of athletic wear and leisure. It’s popular all around the world and has become a standard in modern Kenyan fashion.

Fashion also can take on political messages in the country. There have been past campaigns to promote the peace and awareness for other social issues. Fashion is a way of communicating these messages. We can look at some of the current fashion trends at any given time to understand the political and social environment of Kenya.

Kenya is always developing new and exciting fashion trends. In Kenya, people enjoy wearing modern and traditional clothing. Accessories are common for Kenyans as a way to dress up their outfits and make them more appealing. We are now starting to see many more fashion brands, influences, and media emerging in Kenya. These sources are beginning to bring Kenya into the forefront of fashion globally. When you combine the impact of traditional Kenyan style with modern fashion, the results are something unique from the rest of the world. Kenya continues to promote and showcase traditional clothing as a way to preserve the culture. It also creates a more authentic fashion industry for the country.