Monday, March 9, 2009

Where Did Our National Dress Go?

Yesterday I was reminded of the Kenya national Dress when I watched Liz Ogumbo talk about it on TV. She asked the very question I asked myself when I first saw the dress and which I guess is safe to ask now that the dust has settled down on it. Who was going to wear it?

I’m no designer, so I cannot claim to know the aesthetics behind the whole apron and cloak design but was the idea really going to sell in cosmopolitan Kenya? Some of the women’s versions looked kind of cute but as far as I know, they were to be found in up market boutiques for a handsome price way beyond the reach of many Kenyans. And for an idea of such magnitude, even an internet search does not produce much details or pictures.

And were the guys going to wear a cloak over their shirts?


Eunuch said...

Don't bother racking your head. Ours is a nation built on wrong premise. Look no farther, the Kenyan dress thing is akin to NAJIVUNIA KUWA MKENYA. You don't market patriotism nor identity.

We have no sense of pride or beloning and more of tribe X than Kenyan. The fish rots from the head, ama? Just like newspapers, you only buy a FASHIONABLE DRESS if you have disposable income. How many Kenyans have that now?

Cee said...

That's a great question, I asked myself the same about that wierd so called "national" dress, only Moody wore it more than once and the creative ones like Wahu turned it into a wedding dress. But as Eunuch said, our country is built on wrong premise. The whole designing of the outfit was not for Wanjiku and Otieno to feel as one but for the ones who knew the administration to suck into the government's money with a "productive" excuse

Cee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Our Kid said...

National dress? That is the trouble of a few fashionistas in Nairobi trying to get us fused into one thread when we are so diverse. Amongst my many sins, I have the national dress in my wardrobe. (OK, it was gift..but still, its there!)

It is probably the most horrid thing I have seen in a while. And frankly (was it by Fundi Frank??), unless our Prezzy starts wearing it to all functions, and then he is aped by our politicians, and then they are aped by oft-gullible Kenyans, we are going to put this national dress in a museum.

Shiko.. this dress is inspired by you Coastals... it is so light my nipple is visible. Ahem

Mama Shujaa said...

This is a marketing ploy on the part of the designer.

In West Africa they have the Agbada (men)and Ashobi (voluptuous women) - a "generic" national dress driven by the texture of the fabric so-to-speak.

If anybody's nipple is showing there is definitely nothing "national" about it!!

Because in Africa it's ALL or NOTHING (e.g. the Swazi beauties and their toplessness,). It's like corruption in Africa. Politicians don't take a little something it's ALL or NOTHING. No in between.


Eunuch said...

Our kid,
If the national dress reveals the finer details of the upper pair you are better advised to shun it lest you GET BEWITCHED and they disappear.

Anonymous said...

lol...exactly, where did it go?

Shiko-Msa said...

Eunuch don't remind me of the Alfred Mutua stickers that he personally hit the streets to distribute. Maybe he should try that now with the hungry lot.

Cee It was certainly not for Wanjiku or Atieno. someone has already pocketed the money and life goes on. I'm sure even the whole Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya campaign cost a pretty penny and who knows where it all went?

Mama Shujaa it's that Ashobi then that Kenyan ladies have embraced with a passion. That was the whole idea behind finding our own dress. Ati coz our ladies were walking around and they all went to Beijing dressed like West Africans. they still are so maybe the designers should go back to the drawing board.

Our Kid! Whatever have we coastals got to do with your nipples! Someone gave that as a gift? Are you sure they like you? lol.

Neema the National Dress went to Our Kid's wardrobe.

Maua said...

Shix, I attended a Forum this week, 'Invest in East Africa' held in London, and there was a Kenyan delegate from the ministry of trade dressed in that outfit (the cloak). At first I thought it was sooooo Indian, until when I was editing the photos.

So there u go, 'promoting EA'.