What you need to know:
I have always been interested in design but afraid of fully diving into it as a career for fear of being stereotyped.
Obviously, I eventually got over that and have enjoyed every minute designing since.
Anthony Muli is the head designer behind Kenyan label Katchy Kollections and luxury brand Jiamini. Designing from a young age, he has grown his talent into a full time career.
As the winner of the apparel category of the designers competition held by FA254 last year, he is currently in production for a new collection to be sold on eBay in Berlin, Germany. Here he lets us into his creatively charged world.
Did you always want to be a designer?
I have always been interested in design but afraid of fully diving into it as a career for fear of being stereotyped. Obviously, I eventually got over that and have enjoyed every minute designing since.
How did you get into it?
Frankly, boredom. Walking through a mall with my mother when I was younger, we came across a bead store, I told her if she bought me a few beads and a beginner’s book on design I would stay off the playstation or playing all day.
That evening as I stranded my first necklace, the journey begun!
Which design school did you attend?
I didn’t attend any fashion design school. My learning experience has been from one on one sessions with tailors, leather and fabric experts from various factories and a business and product development coach from Germany who has guided me greatly in my design process.
You have two lines Katchy Kollections and Jiamini, how do they differ?
Katchy Kollections is a fashion accessories brand that creates beautifully crafted and affordable pieces inspired by our rich cultural heritage.
Jiamini on the other hand is a brand that artistically expresses the world of creativity greatly influenced by traditional technique and craftsmanship while at the same time blending naturally found materials with luxurious fabrics in the creation of its products.
What inspires you?
The African continent. We are such a diverse people culturally; I find beauty in that.
What is your creative process?
The creative process for every collection begins with the question, what emotion do I want to evoke?
This leads to the idea and creation of a mood board filled with images and fabric swatches. I follow this with rough sketches and prototyping the idea which I then show to peers and family for feedback and finally producing the edited final sample.
You were recently selected by FA254 as the apparel designer who will sell their work on the eBay platform, tell us a little about that journey.
It’s still surreal that I was selected out of hundreds of talented applicants as the apparel category winner. I was initially selected as one of the 10 finalists who participated in a two-week training workshop where we learned new techniques of sketching and garment production by lecturers from Esmod Fashion School, Berlin.
I am inspired and overjoyed at this opportunity to showcase my work on an international platform as well as put Kenya on the map as a country buzzing with young talent capable of competing with the world
What’s the story behind your winning FA254 collection?
My collection was inspired by the polythene bag and was incorporated with leather to create a dress. The polythene bag narrated the story of our continent and how we at times are so quick to judge it and ourselves but if we look deeper into it, we find riches that one cannot put monetary value on and only then will we find beauty within disaster.
What’s the most valuable lesson you took away from the whole experience?
To believe in yourself. Jiamini!
How would you like to see the fashion industry in Nairobi change/grow?
I feel production for designers is a great challenge and I would like to see the rise of more factories with a focus solely on the production of quality apparels catered to the local designer.
Your style is?
If you had to pick one; clothes, shoes or accessories, which would it be?
Shoes. The right kind of shoe gives life to your outfit. Shoes gives one posture and poise
Fashion in Nairobi is?
What do you love most about fashion in Africa?
The eclectic spirit and the stories told through the designs.
Have a great week beautiful people.