Our Story

The journey so far

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Thrifting in Gikomba

For anyone who’s lived in Nairobi long enough, they’ve probably realised or will soon find out that thrifting is probably one of the most ubiquitous ways to get variety, in-style and affordable clothing. We were certainly no exception, from prowling through heaps of clothes in Gikomba and Toi market, we were proud members of the “mtumba” community and knew exactly where to get the hottest second-hand clothing in search of sartorial satisfaction.

Rediscovering Menswear & Fit

“Bosss, where did you get that...“ is often a logical statement amongst men, especially when their impressed by your style. Naturally, we sought to make money off our connections in the mtumba community by selling cleaned out blazers, ties, pants and all things sundry to our friends, families and anyone who cared to notice.

Over the course of time we imported premium clothing from Turkey (common local practice) and sold to an already established clientele base. As it would quickly emerge, most of the garments imported to African nations (Kenyan included) are manufactured with caucasian size charts in mind. If the blazer fits, the pants are too tight. If all the above fit, then the sleeve is too long for one’s liking. You see, Africans by nature have broad hips & broad shoulders by no fault of their own, but simply through mother nature’s blessing!

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Identifying a problem and Infusing Culture

The above situation presented a not so unique challenge, which somewhat needed a unique solution. A recent study suggests Nairobi alone has more than 45,000 informal small & medium enterprise tailors/artisans. They exist for the very purpose of altering & creating fitting clothes for the African physique. As most Nairobians have probably realised, the processed is often bogged down by inconsistent communication and late deliveries if any, adding stress and eating into valuable, productive worthy time.

Over the past 3 years we have gathered measurements of more than 250 gentlemen and are on course to creating a generic “Kenyan Size Chart”. By adding a layer of professionalism in the Bespoke process we hope to foster peace of mind and have our clients chase their money not their clothes. Crafting suits just wasn’t our intention. By heavily borrowing from our flamboyant fore-fathers we sought for ways to incorporate the rich colours & bold culture that undeniably identified them. We thus incorporated bold printed linings as an aesthetic in our more subtle muted coloured suits.

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MADE IN NAIROBI

A study done by Hivos & Equity bank suggests that there exists at least 45,000 small & medium artisans in Nairobi. All operating in an informal capacity. Though talented, this huge pool presents potential that can be tapped, trained and leveraged to help create sustainable jobs, livelihoods and employment opportunities for others. This one of our key missions. Positive societal impact.

We cannot fail to mention how Nairobi is a cultural melting pot, which oozes a unique vibe and energy that can’t be found in any other city in the world. “My City, My Town!”

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Tailoring for the Man on the Move: Convenience

With today’s connected, busy world. Most people have very little time on their hand. With increasing work demands and ever fluid work targets,it always seems like there's just “one more email” that needs to get sent before its dusk. Ever travelling for meetings & pitch presentation, if not for a client then with a boss on hand. It goes without saying that one needs to always look mint while doing it all. But where’s the time to shop for that much needed suit or blazer for next week’s pitch? We made a deliberate decision to be of service to our clients by visiting their offices and/or homes. Convenience. Fully kitted and ready to take measurements and offer advice during fabric selection. A sequence of 5 images. Feel like you’d like a bespoke suit, why not book an appointment here:-

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Our Mission

To re-discover, reclaim and celebrate Kenyan cultural identity and express this through the language of fashion while leveraging on technology to ensure positive societal impact.

Our Vision

To create beautiful clothing that inspires the wearers to tell tales about the cultures that inspired the pieces. Always remember that Image Is Half The Story Told.

Design Ethos

To achieve a delicate yet tangible balance between our fore-fathers' flamboyant dress and British conservatism by combining bold prints, colors, patterns with muted tones for a transitional contemporary look.

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Brand Design Ethos

To achieve a delicate balance between our fore-fathers' flamboyant dress and British conservatism by combining bold prints, colors, patterns and muted tones for a transitional vibe.

Looking To The Future

We envision a retail future that is scalable, sustainable and with tangible social impact. By pursuing our Cultural Quest campaign & customer centric approach we foresee ready to wear collections subtly infused with bold prints, patterns & colours that speak volumes of the inherent cultural beauty we possess.

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The Founders

Image Is Half The Story Told.

SAM & BRIAN THE TEAM GENTEEL