New York-based Kenyan fashion designer and co-founder of The Wakilisha Collection, Justin Mungai, along with co- designer and CFO Linda Kieu and COO Gatere Kigamwa, unveiled their latest exciting collection in New York during the world famous New York Fashion Week, which began on Thu, 7 Sept 2023 and ended on Wed, 13 Sept 2023. The 15 new prints which will become publicly available on October 15, 2023, are a combination of Kikoy, Maasai, and Kitenge fabrics, each with a unique pattern and design and available in each of the variety of suit styles that the Wakilisha Collection offers.
In addition to the brand's current offerings, during the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) show, held at Runway 7 Spring / Summer 2024 Collections at Sony Hall on September 09, 2023, in New York City, The Wakilisha Collection also unveiled five new suit styles that will be added to its design offerings.
New York Fashion Week takes place twice a year: in February and September, in New York City and is considered to be one of the four major fashion weeks in the world alongside London, Milan, and Paris Fashion weeks. Thousands and thousands of people from around the world come together to celebrate the biggest designers' new collections as they enjoy runway shows, kickoff events, after parties and so much more.
Justin, who grew up in Nairobi, says he was always into bold and colorful East African prints, something that become part and parcel of his life even in adulthood. Over time, together with his fiancé Linda Kieu (who is also the CFO of the company) and lifelong friend Gatere Kigamwa (who is the COO of the company) explored the idea of transforming this passion for African Print into a business. Today the business has become a premier clothing company that offers authentic, made to measure, African print suits. The print fabric is sourced from Kenya, designed by the Wakilisha team across continents, and the garments are then tailored in Kenya before being sent to clients across the globe.
(From l-r: Gatere Kigamwa, Linda Kieu and Justin Mungai)
The Ladies Short Blazer
Adding to its already popular long blazer look for women as well as the regular-length blazer (which is a more customary suit style), The Wakilisha Collection unveiled its new ladies' blazer short blazer look. This style was unveiled in the new 'Machakos Print," a beautiful multi-colored Kitenge fabric and the perfect summer outfit. At New York Fashion Week, the Wakilisha team styled this print as a beautiful and fitted skirt suit set, which was adored by all the attendees. This is the perfect holiday outfit for December in Kenya!
The Wakanda Blazer
This is perfect ceremonial outfit for men - boasting beautiful embroidery on a long African-style blazer, inspired by traditional African outfits around the continent and, in-part, by the outfits worn by King T'Challa in Wakanda during the movie Black Panther. For its unveiling, The Wakilisha Collection styled his new blazer offering in black and gold embroidery. We have learned that this print will be customizable by the customer both in the color of the fabric and the color of the embroidery.
Satin Lapel for Tuxedo-Style Blazers
By popular demand, The Wakilisha Collection has increased the scope of its tuxedo-style blazers to add an offering that customizes the lapel from fabric to black satin. This represents a further fusion between African and Western styles, embracing a lapel design that's more traditional in western tuxedo styles with the bold and vivacious African prints. This is a sure way to stand out at your next black-tie event.
The Moyale Print
Adding to the slate of creative designs introduced by The Wakilisha Collection at New York Fashion Week, the team also introduced one of the most unique styles to its catalogue - the "Moyale Print." This design is half African Print and half solid black fabric. For its unveiling, the Wakilisha Team paired the black fabric with the black and white Ndovu print in its catalogue. We've learned that a select number of prints will be available for the Moyale design and we're excited to see the various variations.
The Men's Shorts Suit
Last fall, The Wakilisha Collection added the shorts suit into its offerings for Women and they've been a huge hit since. Following that success, the brand is getting bolder and introducing a version of the shorts suit for men, understanding that men too want to be stylish in the hottest of temperatures. To introduce this new suit style, The Wakilisha Collection unveiled this look at New York Fashion Week with the "Thika Print," a tan Maasai fabric that's perfect in virtually any suit-style. This will be another summer favorite right here in Kenya, this December.
The Rest of The Fall 2023 Collection
Below is a snapshot of the other fabrics that the Wakilisha Team will be dropping on October 15, 2023.
You can watch the video from the NYFW show on The Wakilisha Collection's website (https://thewakilishacollection.com/)
All Wakilisha Collection garments are made from authentic fabric sourced from and tailored in Kenya and shipped worldwide. As a technologically-forward business founded during the pandemic, all purchases are conducted online, but The Wakilisha Collection provides free mobile tailoring to all customers within Nairobi at a place of their choosing.
(Written by Justin Mungai, the Chief-Executive Officer of The Wakilisha Collection. Photos by Antonio Agosto, Jamel Martin, Victor Dhliwayo, Brian Cheng, Ilya Savenok)