Over the past few years, the fashion scene in Kenya has undergone massive changes. One could even say that it has been democratised. Even right now it is growing in leaps and bounds even though sometimes it may not be apparent. With the large number of fashion events that we have presently, it can be difficult to decipher which ones are actually the best and worth looking out for. This list aims to do just that. All the events listed here will be based on personal experience.
- Fashion High Tea
This is one of the most successful fashion events in the country to date. Going on their tenth edition likely in February of 2020, Fashion High Tea has proven itself time and again to be one of the premier fashion events in the country. FHT brings together designers from all over the world to showcase their work to the local market. Tickets for the event will cost you an arm and a leg. The previous edition’s tickets were retailing at KShs 6,500 advance and 2020 might have even higher prices considering the previous edition cost KShs 5,500. In spite of the price being leagues above other events, it’s well worth it. The event donates all proceeds towards charity. On top of that, there’s a wide selection of snacks to engage in and a unique opportunity to network with industry leaders. This event has definitely earned its place on the list of top ten fashion events in Kenya.
- Fashion Couture Affair
Fashion couture is the brainchild of four young Kenyans. The main aim of the event was to promote and give a platform to young Kenyan designers and models a platform to showcase their craft. The event traces its roots to Nairobi Railways museum where most of the editions have been held. The previous edition made its way to Tanzania and was a great success even beyond the Kenyan borders. Planning for this event is executed professionally and models receive world-class training in preparation for the event. The runway experience at this event is truly like no other. On top of that, there are food vendors and exhibitors on-site for those who prefer a market-style approach.
- The JW Show
The JW Show, organized by Jeffrey Wilson, has proven itself not once or twice but several times to be among the top fashion events in Kenya. This is among the few events that can pride themselves in selling out completely on several occasions. The event mostly offers a platform to young upcoming designers with more established designers opting not to showcase due to the presentation format. The event is, at the core, a designers competition packaged in a high fashion standard. That notwithstanding, the runway experience is well worth your time. Organization standards are on point and the presentation is quite remarkable. The next edition will be at Two Rivers Mall.
- Kenya Fashion Awards
“Established in 2012 the Kenya Fashion Awards is celebrating the contributions of the designers, fashion photographers, models, fashion stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists and creatives to the fashion scene.
Its aim to recognize and celebrate the wealth of fashion talent across Kenya and East Africa.
The event provides a stepping stone for emerging talent into the highly competitive fashion arena through networking, promotion and guidance.
Winning or being shortlisted for an Award provides endless rewards for designers, photographers, models … who participate as the event offer s a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and to showcase designers, photographers or fashion stylists work to the industry professionals, fashionistas, press and media.”
I picked this straight from their website and I don’t believe that you could get any closer to the truth than this. The event has proven itself on its journey to improve the standards of fashion by nurturing and bringing up lesser-known players in the industry. I think that’s enough said.
- Brad’s Fashion Show
In many ways, I always find Brad’s fashion show and the JW show to have a lot in common. The attendance is almost always overwhelming and the build-up to the event is always awesome. Brad’s fashion show hosts designers from other countries as well as local designers. It acts as a stepping stone for many models into other markets all over the world. Brad’s fashion show also features higher-end designers hence differentiating it from many other fashion shows locally, it has that premium feel that most fashion events lack or fail to provide.
- Samantha’s Bridal Wedding Expo
This one goes without saying, it’s a paradise for most brides to be. The event spans a couple of days with close to a hundred vendors in attendance to showcase and promote their brands. There’s a runway segment that gives a better view of how the wedding attires look like. The event concludes with awards segment for the most outstanding service providers. This could be a golden opportunity for brides and grooms to be to meet and interact with reliable and high-quality service providers. We could go on and on about this event but I believe its reputation precedes it.
- Nairobi Fashion Week
Although the fashion scene in Kenya has grown in leaps and bounds, fashion weeks are still relatively new to the industry and not many of them are as successful or as properly executed as the Nairobi fashion week. Granted that there are other fashion weeks around the country, the Nairobi fashion week stands out the most. It attracts designers from all over Africa. Conventionally, the event should run for about a week, but we all know that in Kenya that’s still impossible as a majority of attendees will be busy with their daily lives during the first few days of the week. The event usually kicks off at the end of the week and so far, each successive event has been more successful than the previous one.
The next three events are beauty pageants that deserve an honourable mention. They’re similar in many ways. They all lead to international pageants, all are exceptionally organized and they all open new opportunities for winners and participants alike. The events attract a huge attendance, even larger than some of the high fashion events above. They’ve been around for quite some time hence earning trust with many industry leaders. For models who would like to propel their career to new heights, winning one of these would do just that. Participating would also give you a good boost in its own right.
- Miss Tourism Kenya
- Miss World Kenya
- Miss Universe Kenya