Fashion Cities Africa: Meet The Influencers Who Are Using Fashion To Live Their Kenyan Dream


Sunny Dolat, 2 Many Siblings and Sauti Sol are the Kenyan “Agents of Influence” who will be featured in the first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African Fashion. Exploring fashion and style in four cities at the compass points of the African continent - Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Fashion Cities Africa will consider recent and contemporary fashion practices in these distinctive metropoles, from couture to street style at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from April 2016.

The Stylist
Sunny Dolat is a Kenyan fashion stylist, creative director and production designer.  His background in visual arts set the stage for a career in evolving concepts in beauty and design, from fashion shoot mood boards to luxury hotels of international repute.  He was the creative director of the fashion film “To Catch A Dream”, starring renowned Kenyan model Ajuma Nasenyana, and firmly believes in the role of film as both an extension and disruption of the catwalk. His online fashion intervention, Chico Leco, has grown from high fashion editorial work into a holistic brand representing the bold, eclectic aesthetic of an eternal Africa, shifting the narrative and expectation of Kenyan fashion beyond Ankara, Kikoy and Kanga, and making unapologetic statements about the dignity of black skin.  The exhibition will feature 3 looks put together by Sunny, representing important Nairobi-based designers and body adornment makers: Katungulu Mwendwa, Kepha Maina, Ami Doshi Shah, Adele Dejak as well as 2 outfits from the Nest's film 'To Catch a Dream'.

 Sunny Dolat photographed by Sarah Waiswa

The Siblings
Nairobi-based brother and sister duo Velma Rossa and Papa Petit (aka Oliver) are the founders of trendsetting  2MNYSBLNGS: ‘a curation space for art & photography’, inspired by the diverse city of Nairobi, a thriving thrift culture and a rich emerging community of young African artists and designers. Fashion Cities Africa will feature specially commissioned outfits from the plus a series of images that comment on the secondhand clothing industry (known as 'mitumba' in Kenya).
2manysiblings Velma Rossa and Papa Petit photographed by Sarah Waiswa

The Musicians
Sauti-Sol is an internationally renowned afro-pop group formed in Nairobi by vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano and Savara Mudigi. Their unique sense of style have created a stir across Kenyan media. Outfits from the group will be on display at the exhibition.

Fashion Cities Africa is part of the wider project Fashioning Africa, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Collecting Cultures programme – which supports strategic collecting projects for museums, libraries and archives.

Fashioning Africa will research recent developments and establish an African textile and fashion collection representing 1960-2000.  Running until 2017, the project has appointed a collecting panel from BAME and fashion communities, and will be delivered in partnership with the University of Brighton and the Sussex Africa Centre at the University of Sussex.

Fashion Cities Africa will also be accompanied by a book of the same name, edited by Hannah Azieb Pool with contributions by Helen Jennings (Intellect, 2016, £20).  This will showcase street styles in the four cities through images of their fashion agents by high-profile fashion photographers (Sarah Waiswa, Victor Dlamini, Deborah Benzaquen and Lakin Ogunbanwo), accompanied by profiles and essays.

Exhibition and venue details
Fashion Cities Africa
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
30 April 2016 to 8 January 2017           

© 2016, GeneAfrique. All rights reserved

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  1. Blessings.....
    Good for them!
    I wish them continued success, may their feet stay firmly planted and they don't lose their selves.


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