Building local fashion back

The people rebuilding despite the pandemic


Welcome to the Cutting Edge. Every other week, we will bring you insights, interviews and news from the fashion industry in Kenya and beyond.

In this newsletter, we wanted to highlight the people rebuilding fashion in Kenya and beyond despite the pandemic. A little hope can go a long way, and we hope the people featured here will inspire you as we launch bravely into 2021.

We talk with serial Founder Linda Murithi, who has worked on a myriad of businesses in the fashion industry since she co-founded Africa Fashion Week in 2010. We’ve got some insights on inspiring entrepreneurs, some tips on things not to miss, and some super (model) news. Hope you enjoy it! Got something to share? Contact us below.

A post shared by Linda Murithi (@linda.murithi)

Q&A: with Africa Fashion Week co-founder Linda Murithi

Linda Murithi is a serial founder. From Hub of Africa Fashion Week to The Core Fashion Kenya, and a myriad of other things in between, she’s on a mission to put designers in Kenya and across Africa on the map. Her bespoke night markets and tailor-made approach is refreshing at a time when we could all do with some more simplicity.

The clothes we buy as consumers do affect our environment. We can tell those stories – buying a scarf that helps children go to school because the brand supports education for example – to our children. Those are the important stories. - Linda Murithi

Read our latest Q&A with Linda here. She talks to us about what designers are doing differently since the onset of the pandemic, why everyone has become a storyteller, and key trends to follow into 2021.

Tune into the podcast

Linda’s latest project, the Into the Core Podcast, featured below, airs a series of interviews with entrepreneurial fashionistas. Among our fav interviews so far is the one with TV-presenter-turned-fashion-diva Diana Opoti, Designing Africa.

A post shared by Diana Opoti (@dianaopoti)

From Diana’s stunning 100 days of African fashion campaign featured here in TAP magazine to challenges facing the fashion industry even before COVID-19 hit, the duo have a candid and often hilarious chat on everything from politics and Kenya’s environment for designers (is it really conducive for retail?…) to hurdles around sourcing and producing local goods.

Catch Linda’s next podcast, an interview with Addis Alemayehou, himself an entrepreneur with an impressive portfolio of business interests, on supporting entrepreneurs in Ethiopia and beyond here on YouTube.

In case you missed it

Heard of 24-year-old fashion designer David Avido? When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, he was among the first, together with the Uweza Foundation, to craft masks from local fabrics. Avido and the Foundation, working with groups in Kibera slum on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, made the masks as part of their wider work to bring employment and job opportunities for those facing a life of prostitution, crime, and drug or alcohol abuse, turning instead to more sustainable change. It’s beautifully captured by Nicole Sobecki and Amanda Sperber in this April edition of Vogue Magazine.

And while we’re on the topic of Vogue…

Whatever you might think about it, and despite the formidable Twitter backlash, supermodel Naomi Campbell is Kenya’s latest International Tourism Ambassador, promoting tourism to Kenya. Bring it on, we say. The more the merrier.

News for your calendar… what not to miss

In case you didn’t know already… the Arbor has moved to Manyani East Road, near the junction between Wayaki Way and James Gichuru Road. Their fabulous flea market is back again, come find us on January 31st.

The Shamba Cafe is hosting this photographic workshop on Friday (today!)…

For the books: supporting local business

Pan African bookshop, cafe and community event space (Open 10am-6pm Monday - Saturday) Cheche Books is open in Lavington. They also have a book drive to support Nairobi’s informal settlements.

That’s all for now…

Thanks for joining! If you know someone we should interview; have an event coming up or some great fashion/art focused tips we should share, we want to hear from you. Send us an email at and help us build this community.

Till next time, stay safe xx

About us

You can find out more about our brand Akazi Africa here. We’re launching our shop soon! Stay tuned for more info.