Georgie Ndirangu or simply ‘Georgie‘ is a fascinating person with a fierce passion for fashion and using it to redefine Africa’s image on a global scale. He’s what we would call an Afropolitan – you know, young, culturally savvy and understands that Africa deserves its place in the global village.
Our fashion editor, Roshie caught up with Georgie to chat fashion and what makes him tick. Enjoy!
Roshie Anne: Hey Georgie, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Georgie Ndirangu: Well, I’m not yet 25, cleared my BSc Actuarial Science, doing my Masters in Finance, living and working in Rwanda, and proprietor of Kenya’s and soon-to-be Africa’s number one fashion hub: 2DIE4
RA: Describe your style.
GN: Trendy and appropriate.
RA:Where did you attend school and were you always interested in fashion?
GN: Four long years in Jomo Kenyatta University, and yes, I sure was. You know you love fashion when you get late for class every single day because you can’t decide whether to wear boots or brogues to class.
RA: How did Fashion2Die4 start and what was the inspiration behind it?
GN: Almost 2 years ago in a cyber café. It was initially meant to be a platform for everyone who loved Sneakers, Hoodies, high-end t-shirts and all of that to order and get from us. That was the era when everyone was crazy about Supras, shiny jackets, and other apparel most of us can’t even wear now, but it picked up really well with time. People trusted 2DIE4’ opinion on fashion, analysis of trends, and I went with it.
As time went by, I decided to make it more professional, more concrete and thus the countrywide photo shoots began, where models would be selected from 2DIE4’s social platforms and a photo shoot would occur in different parts of the country.
I was a bit confused though. Was not certain whether I wanted it to be a modeling agency, a fashion store, or anything along those lines.
Then I created the first website with major major help from a pal, US-based Web designer Solomon King. Once the first website was done, it became clearer what was meant to be done. For that (what we settled on), you’ll just have to look at our new website.
RA: How was the response after launching the 2die4 website?
GN: It was really amazing. The hits came from Kenya, Rwanda to as far as Canada, Malaysia and Seoul. There is still a lot to be done, a lot to be perfected on, but this is one of the most ground-breaking milestones 2DIE4 has accomplished.
RA: Tell us more on what you have in store for fashion2die4
GN: A fashion magazine is definitely en route, an actual print magazine, made in Africa, from Africa, for the world. Edgy, and different from what has been done. Online and mobile applications, 2DIE4 Awards, 2DIE4 TV (plans are underway right now in Rwanda to begin in a month or so.) and much much much more.
RA: Do you feel pressure to represent not just Kenya but Africa as a whole with the Fashion 2die4?
GN: Yes, definitely! I’m a fan of Kenya’s work, a major fan of our local productions, not because of anything but the fact that someone actually sat down, thought of something and made it happen. That’s one of the biggest problems people our age have. We think too much, we strategize too much, we plan too much, but only a handful actually DO stuff. Take for example a designer like Wambui Mukenyi. When she started off her facebook page, we were talking, as a joke, and I told her I could advertise her page on the 2DIE4 platform. At that time, I had no idea what she was capable of, I had only seen a few of her designs, and thought that she was a rather ok designer. Nothing over the top at first. Then it was advertised on the 2DIE4 page, and the page grew MASSIVELY the next few days. Months later she released her next collection and it WOWED people in Kenya and enthusiasts in the diaspora too. Her strength is consistency, and putting thought to her work. And I love her and her fashion line for that. The moral of the story: Think and do, think and do. But assess your competition and see what they’re doing, then DON’T do that.
RA: Why do you think African fashion is in right now?
GN: We are entirely unique, entirely different, and we’re hitting each and every bit of the world in a major way. Vlisco for one, the fabric (company), has been featured on almost all the relevant runways worldwide. Blackbird Jeans have been in African Fashion Week New York, and other major shows in the West, John Kaveke’s models have strutted international catwalks, Kikoromeo, Sara Karay, Wambui Mukenyi, Fundi Frank, and many more. The list is long. What makes their work so interesting is that they moved from the cliché African attire people would only wear to weddings and get-togethers, and created something someone could walk in, party in, chill in, blanket and wine in. Attire for every day. And that is not something other countries or continents can mess with, Soon and very soon, Africa, Kenya specifically will be a major fashion capital. If no-one else will ensure that, 2DIE4 and I definitely will. *Insert coy smile*
RA: What inspires/motivates you?
GN: My past and my family. My past motivates me a whole lot. Every single day I wake up, I thank God for what was, what is, and what is to come.
My mom. She has been my rock. She told me once “I will not lie to you that you can do anything. Nope, that’s a lie. I’m no ordinary mommy, but I will tell you. If you feel it in your gut, go for it, don’t be side-tracked, just focus and go for it. But if you don’t follow through till the end, you only have yourself to blame. Don’t come crying to me.”
The people who constantly tweet, inbox and email me saying how much they love the website, or 2DIE4 or my work or my blog. Those little things mean the most and inspire in ways people could never understand. Could never stop what I’m doing now.
RA: If you weren’t working on 2die4 – what would you be doing instead?
GN: I would probably be living a very boring, routine life in and out, working for a financial institution from 8 to 5, heading home, watching a movie, preparing clothes for the following morning, sleep, wake up, head to work, like clockwork. It feels nice mixing the mathematical sector of my life and 2DIE4 at the same time. Entirely fun, challenging and something new always comes up every single day.
RA: What trends do you currently love? What trends do you just hate?
GN: I’m a fan of fitting chinos, velvet slippers, print old-school cardigans, and double breasted suits.
Hate is a strong word, but really deep V-neck (those that look like U’s or Y’s….lol) t-shirts are a no-no.
RA: What are some of the challenges you face as fashion editor?
GN: Time, time, time is the all-time challenge. There is always something new the contributors and 2DIE4 writers have submitted, and going through all of those as I assess pensions, logistics and statistics in a different line of work, and present news, is not a walk in the park. I’m not complaining though.
RA: What are some of your future plans?
GN: Well apart from making 2DIE4 the number one fashion hub in Africa, get that Bentley, that 2 story glass apartment with the massive fish tank, and a daughter.
RA: What would you like people to know about you? What do you want your legacy to be?
GN: I would like to remain relevant. That is all. A household name. When someone says, “Wow, that lace dress is 2DIE4!” they would always have a slight thought of the website or the 2DIE4 Brand in their minds. Something people will want to be associated with, or something people always look to for advice and guidance in this very competitive industry.
I will have to say though, I have gone a bit too far to just stop now, and the team that supports me psychologically and spiritually would be damned if I just quit, so TRUST, so much in store this year. Too much. It’s bad juju to flaunt your projects. You only do the DO and let the success speak for itself.
Catch up with Georgie on fb and twitter or check out his site 2DIE4
Georgie Ndirangu – http://facebook.com/ndirangugeorgie (Georgie Ndirangu)
Georgie twitter – @georgiendirangu
2DIE4 fb – (Fashion 2DIE4)
2DIE4 Twitter – @fashion_2die4
2DIE4 Website: www.2die4.co.ke
Roshie Anne is an up and coming fashion designer living and working in the US. She also has her own fashion blog where she shares her style inspiration and fashion tips.