With a style that stands out, creating unique urban pieces with a great care for detail, George Njenga is a designer to watch out for. He designs amazing street wear pieces for men using African fabrics and gives them that urban flavor. His designs have been featured on Coke Studio Africa as seen on celebrities such as Nigeria’s Patoranking and South Africa’s Nasty C. I got the chance to learn more about his journey and this is what he had to say.
How did you end up being a fashion designer?
It was a friend who actually inspired me to get into fashion design. I had never planned on being a fashion designer, but always had a talent in art and creativity. This all began as a random project when we started designing stuff that we thought looked cool and soon after, I fell in love with designing and fashion as a whole. Later on, I decided to focus my efforts on African fashion.
How did you come up with the name Eli?
Eli was first called “elit” meaning elite which is a select part of a group of people that are superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities. The idea was that we were designing for the elite and anyone could be elite if they owned one of our designs. I dropped the “t” later on because there were so many other things called elite.
How long have you been designing?
I’ve been designing for about 3 years now, and look forward to many more.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I get inspiration from the many African nations, the different cultures and traditions as well as the different tribes in Kenya. I mix this with a modern look while also drawing inspiration from a lot of the internationally recognized street wear brands.
What is the price range of your pieces?
This year my prices range from KES 3,500 – 15,000 but the prices will drop by next year.
What’s the best part about being a fashion designer?
I enjoy what I do and that’s the best part about it, making it feel less like work and more like a hobby. Most of the fashion designers that I’ve met are doing what they love, you can’t not be into fashion and be a fashion designer, it just doesn’t make sense!
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a designer in the Kenyan fashion industry?
Some of the problems I’ve encountered in Nairobi as a fashion designer is the limited high quality kitenge at affordable pricing. This makes it very hard to produce for the “elites” so instead of sourcing local material, we ship in most of our material from various places around the world to optimize on the exclusivity of the design, making each design perfect and in turn raising the price which is never fun for the customer but worth every penny!
What are the future plans for Eli?
Future plans for Eli is to be the go to for high quality African street wear in Nairobi. We will be producing much more stock at affordable pricing and high quality designs which you won’t find anywhere else.
What is your advice for young emerging fashion designers?
My advice is to not give up, to keep pushing and to work harder than every other designer out there. As well as to believe in your product and talent.
What’s your life mantra?
My life Mantra would have to be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” because without him none of this would be possible.
How can people get their hands on your pieces?
We do free delivery within Nairobi!
How can people contact you?
To contact us for any queries or further information you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or whats app us on +254 792 788 683
Location – YWCA
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