Answering the Kenyan demand for local designers, Brothers Jeff and Emmanuel Wanjala founded urban wear company Wan Fam Clothing in 2009, and to date, their fashions have become widely popular, according to CNN.
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Rather than looking abroad for what’s in for fashion, the Wanjalas looked within to see what they could use as the basis for the clothing.
Eventually, the Brothers decided to draw on the cloth of the iconic Maasai, called “Shuka,” for both edification and inspiration.
Jeff says, “Our dominant fabric is usually Maasai shuka. It’s very ideal because it has like a signature for Africa — you can just see it and notice that this is our brand.”
Not long after, the Nairobi-based Wan Fam Clothing was born and they easily found a clientele.
Speaking on the Kenyan market, Jeff says, “The demand for local products has actually gone up. People are trying to get more African products, so that means [there] is actually a big market for local designers.”
“This was one of the best sales we ever had. We had launched it on a Friday and by Monday we had sold like half the collection,” says Jeff.
And business has been robust ever since then.
Wan Fam Clothing sells about 100 units a month, with jackets retailing for $29 and bags for $18.
And they aren’t alone.
South African Laduma Ngxokolo has also enjoyed healthful returns from his menswear collection, which draws on his Xhosa heritage, and Teta Isibo of Rwanda has made a name for herself with his handmade traditionally infused jewelry.
For other entrepreneurs, Jeff offers the following advice, “I would tell anyone who wants to start a local brand, don’t compromise on quality. That’s number one. And don’t give up on whatever you love doing. Just do what you love and the rest will follow.”
See more fashions and accessories from Wan Fam here: