Muriithi Talks : Tailoring, the State of the Industry, Africanism and His Mission To Take His Brand Worldwide.
Introduce yourself to those who are not familiar with you and your work.
My name is Love Muriithi Kinyanjui, fashion designer & creative director at muriithi kinyanjui. Muriithi Kinyanjui is a bespoke brand that specialized bespoke suits (for both genders),and ladies gowns. We make it simple yet significant, our mission being; To be the ultimate opulence, defining style and creating desire to infinity.
How did you get into making suits , has it always been your dream to be a designer or is it just a business idea you had?
To be honest tailoring/fashion been my obsession for the longest time,i remember in senior school when we were going for music festival I decided to add a kitenge Fabric to my school shirt ( that is the collar and the better part of back part) as you can imagine it didn’t go that well when the teacher found out hahaha.
I knew that fashion is what i want to pursue and I stuck to it and perfecting in, YouTube have been the best teacher ever. Funny enough in this quarantine period i got to chat with my granny and she told me she was once doing tailoring and it’s the same course she passed to my dad though my dad didn’t pursue it, now am on it. It’s more of third generation passed love ✂️
So its been in the family and you just found out , that is interesting to know.
Yes, just found out under this pandemic
So who are your influences and do you have mentors in the industry , in real life or virtual?
Ozwald Boateng, Joshua kane, frere and art comes first.
Anyone in the local industry that you look up to or whose work you appreciate …
Uuuhm John Kaveke and Bevern OGUK.
Nice nice, so how do you conceptualize a design or a collection when you make one …
My inspiration is africanism, black excellence, Africanism doesn’t mean i use African fabrics alone. My interpretation to it is African we are known to be bold and fearless am sure you have seen that in my suits and other garbs. Knowing my inspiration is Africanism
I look up to Africa tradition,like a particular ethnic group. Their mode of dressing,harvesting,different types of attires and the occasion they used to dress up for,flowers building structures.
And what mediums do you use to showcase your work and how instrumental is social media to your brand?
I use Facebook,Instagram
And we are happy to say now you can google up and get to access our services and direction to our workshop there.
I always try and enlighten people about dresses so that they can dress appropriate for the occasion
We always see you working with celebrities like Masauti , can you talk a bit about that relationship, also talk to us about how important it is to have that celebrity designer relationship if it is indeed necessary ....
Yes yes it is necessary,It’s been really a pleasure walking with masauti (and some other celebrities like Exray)he is a humble been and he gives me a room to exercise my creativity the relationship been good. It’s really good to get a client more so a celebrity that let’s you exercise your creativity.
And do you see them more as part of branding or just as clients?
I see them as both.
Now I’ve known you for quite sometime now and i’m a fan of your work clearly, whats the ceiling, how far do you want to take this thing ?
Thank you so much Cole,i look up to you. You are really a genius.
Wow that’s quite a question, in 10 or so years am eyeing on making Muriithi Kinyanjui a worldwide known fashion house that showcases Africanism at it’s best but with a touch of british and Italian tailoring, am looking to open outlets all over Africa and the world at large.
Are you part of any fashion industry institutions ?…….. are you aware of the new Kenya fashion council and do you think we need this industry institutions?
Am not in any institution but I’ve been eyeing on The Kenya fashion council i think Akinyi Odongo is the chair right?
Yes we need this institution BUT they should focus on the problem fashion industry is facing, naturally talents and how to expand fashion industry not only in Kenya but Africa at large.
What problems is the industry facing at the moment or in the long run and how do you think the problems can be can be tackled…….
With this pandemic business is not running as usual but hopeful it will get back to its feet soon. Most of earthlings are indoors(quarantining themselves) because of covid-19 and hence the industry hasn’t been the same.apart from covid-19 which we will overcome.
Some the problem we face in the industry is lack of authenticity like you won’t tell which brand made a certain suit as they are mostly the same it’s like copy and paste haha, which is really not good.
Other problems we facing in industry is lack of textile companies that can make designers own prints hence exhausting the fabrics available and limiting designers creativity.
People not buying locally made garbs . It really bothers me when you see a client choosing not to buy a suit maybe worth $200 that is locally made but can buy a jacket that is original copy designer that goes for $500, quality here is generalized as anything outside the country and not locally made (not saying there isn’t authentic garbs that get imported in Kenya) what i mean is that, that BUY KENYAN BUILD KENYA slogan needs to be actualized.
Okay i see, so you’d like the institution to police and enforce some of this policies or ideologies for the grater good of the industry , am I correct ?
Affirmative, At least that’s my understanding of Institutions and educating.
You’ve talked about covid-19 how is it affecting your day to day operations ?
It has really affected my line of work. As you know it’s about bespoke clothes. So my interactions with my clients isn’t as it used to be,because it involves touching clients while talking measurements, as you know everyone is cautious about the Covid-19 and no one can tell if one have the virus making it hard for us to take measurements,So it’s not business as normal but still hoping for the best.
Also work hours have been reduced, reaching to clients is hard
Plus them getting to me is almost impossible because of travel restrictions.
What has this pandemic taught you about the industry , private life and how to do things past it
It has Taught me alot,
Get content with what you have but not to settle. Focus on how i can digitize all the systems, measurements, consultations with clients to delivery, maybe meet them first time for fittings.
To focus on social media platform and build a strong foundation as much as not forgetting my main focus on quality garbs, to make every garb like it’s my last.
It has taught me to create my personal life as most of people know my life has been all about building my brand .
But biggest of all it have taught me in industry and private like to LOVE LOVE and LOVE as its the only thing we came to the world with and we will take when we leave.
Finally but not last, what is the best thing about what you do.
Fashion is a universal language that allows people of all origins to express their individuality and tastes through their appearance. I love that, rich or poor, old or young, large or small, i love that i craft a style and a look that conveys their personal taste and perspective on life to the world. They can use it to speak to the world without ever using a single word or vocal utterance. It also gives them a shared visual language with every other person regardless of where they come from or whether or not they share any cultural common ground. In real ways, fashion is one of the underpinnings of the universal humanhood that exists between people of every origin around the world.
And that i can get crazy and creative i can because fashion there is nothing right or wrong is nothing but a plain canvas.
Also when i see someone appreciate what i do and in what i have crafted it really overwhelming and feel blessed
Alright man , we appreciate you coming through , hope we get to do this again Muriithi, Thank you and have a good evening.
This interview has been condensed and refined to give the maximum perspective and experiences while reading.