The influence of both European and Asian fashions on traditional African clothes was shown clearly at a fashion show organised by African Heritage Ltd.
The influence of both European and Asian fashions on traditional African clothes was shown clearly at a fashion show organised by African Heritage Ltd. at Nairobi's Intercontinental Hotel recently (28 April).
Among the designers was Kenya-born Irene Mugambi who has returned to Nairobi from a successful modelling career in Europe. Other designs were by Claudette King, Directress of the Institute of Tailoring and Cutting at Nairobi, Holland Millis of Mombasa and Agrican Heritage Ltd.
Jewellery was designed by Alan Donovan, the Bombolulu Coast Workshop in Mombasa and Malaika Crafts.
Malaika Crafts, which is based in the Mathari Valley, was started with a orant of land and a building from the Kenya National Christian Council as part of its Home Industries Programme. It is new, entirely self-supporting through the sale of jewellery, fabrics and other items.
SYNOPSIS: At Nairobi's Intercontinental Hotel, the influence of Western and Asian fashions on African designers was illustrated in a recent show of locally-designed clothes.
Both European and Asian influences are apparent in this three-quarter length party dress in yellow, white and green, worn over matching green trousers.
In contrast, the audience wear wholly Western fashions.
This traditional multi-coloured African skirt is a Nigerian design in handwoven cotton. It's worn with a matching turban and a white top of pure silk.
Now a kaftan-style evening dress in white with white embroidery and, like all the designs, with slit sides.
More influenced by European designs is this tent dress in blending pastel browns, blues and yellows.
Moving on from this we have a traditional kaftan-style dress with matching hood in heavy woven cotton. Again the colours blend -- blue, purple and turquoise in this case.
For the men, a European-style evening jacket, but made in golden-brown autumn colours in a leaf design, a pleasing alternative to the normal plain colours.
And two safari suits, one in denim green for leisure use and the other in off-white cotton for outdoors.
For the women again, a two-tone gold and green silk evening dress in butterfly-style with the gold shaped to the line of the body.
Another flowing gown, this time for men, is this chief's ceremonial wear in grey lame in a traditional design.
And back to the European influence is this yellow halter-neck dress with black printed animals and birds. The style is traditional African, except for the neck and backless feature.