By Selina Gentrix – Special AFIO
Fashion is a mode of expression for everybody, everyone wants to walk around in confidence and even be a head turner. Fashion trends tend to change rapidly if not daily thanks to creativity and diverse African cultures. Each time a new fashion is out so many embrace the changes and go with trending culture till that time that a new fashion is out. Latest fashion trends taking over in Kenya right now are berets, newsboy hats, ruffles and fringe, slit side palazzo pants, bracelets, leisurewear, fanny packs, feminist chic, casual chic, buckle shoes, exaggerated sleeves (I love this), cropped flare jeans, trendy retro, Cat eye and clot googles, side stripe pants, just to mention a few. Moreover the growing population in Africa provides a great arena for fashion investors to market and sell their products and services.Africa’s fashion industry is showing great growth potential why?because of many upcoming designers, fresh brains and ideas emanating from them though mostly they got no support from already developed designers to get to the top. Personally I believe that should African designers come together, support each other’s idea and grow together will grow the African economies in general. Though lets not forget competition is key because it pushes one to bring out the best.
Here in Kenya most people are venturing into the fashion industry. Anyone who wants to try this business should first of all do research and know exactly what he or she wants to sell, secondly know your target customers; are they kids,youths,celebrities,companies etc, thirdly have in mind your venue or avenue;as in how will people get to know you and your products/services,your location, basically express yourself.
The streets in Kenya are filled with many graduates who have no jobs, luckily many have ventured into the fashion industry to sell clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories just to make ends meet and yea,they have not regretted at all.Mostly they do their sales online by creating pages on facebook and showcasing what they have once they get orders they do deliveries.This has advantages and disadvantages because not everyone trusts online shopping in Kenya especially with growing rate of scammers and conmen,on the brighter side online shops tend to cub rental fees. This business is also done by those still in colleges as a way to make extra cash.
Most of the time business people want to import good from various countries say,Uganda (Kampala), Dubai, China, USA and many more.This is a great avenue for foreign investors to invest in .An African Fashion dealer may partner up with a foreign Fashion dealer and do great business in that he sells your products abroad and you sell his in your country.Or better still, we can have people who act as middlemen for fashion dealers,that way they outsource goods by order for business people at a fee and have then delivered,this cuts down the costs of one travelling to en fro ,at the end of it everyone gains.African culture seems to be loved by the world;The use of Ankara (Vitenge), lessos, beaded ornaments,shoes,(Maasai shoes, clothes) bags accessories attracts many.