It can be both exciting as well as challenging to be a creative producing and selling your art in Kenya right now. Yes, the support is there for non traditional forms of expression in the arts, but whether or not the atmosphere is conducive is a subject that continues to elicit debate.
The FAFA (Festival For Fashion and Arts) Market is an avenue that is looking to tackle some of the challenges that include barriers to entry and sustainability head on. Ann Mccreath, the creative director of fashion brand KikoRomeo explained to me that it’s not just clothes, for anyone who may have that misconception: ” it’s a focus lifestyle, books, music – any great Kenyan creative product can be considered and some from other African countries too…”
The monthly event allows vendors to connect directly with their customers and network, build and sample – all within a laid back environment. Food and shopping sounds like a pretty good time to me!
So how are the vendors for the market selected? She says it’s all about ensuring that quality remains at the forefront: “… they send photos of their products and a bit of information. Sometimes we ask to check the quality physically. We look for original design, finish with products that are ideally made and/or designed in Kenya. We also look for correct costing as we are about sustainability so we want everyone in the value chain to be paid properly…”
Diversity in terms of the products on offer is also a major consideration, along with giving young people a chance to sell alongside names that are more established.
The FAFA market is only a couple of years old, and she explains that vendors are happy to be where they know they will be able to make sales. “Karen has proven to be very good for this…with a monthly market at Purdy Arms on Marula Lane…”
Those in the creative industry will have to really work on a strong brand identity if they want to make a serious impact within the continent – which has in recent years experienced a surge in popularity. “There will be more and more designers/fashionpreneurs but it will the ones with a clear sense of style and quality, who will become well known abroad. Others may still make money, but go for a more mass market….”
The next FAFA market takes place on the 6th of November and with the holidays just a short way away, the theme is Christmas Gifts.
Should be a fabulous place to stock up on some really inspired, authentic and one of kind pieces for the special people in your life.
Visit FAFA for more details.
All Images: FAFA Facebook