In recent years we have fused our cultural heritage with modern innovation. A good example is the introduction of clothing and shoes with African themed elements and acclaimed global reach; this fusion of our culture with modern fashion is a display of our culture’s pride.
With an artist database of 7000 Creatives, we already had a standing resource that provided creativity and talent. We needed more access to markets for our services and products, so we set forth on a quest to find markets and build a sustainable ecosystem that would create goods and services to match up the demand we would build for their products.
It was while we were doing our research and building on the ecosystem that we stumbled upon an important resource within our reach that our diverse pool of Creatives was missing; and that was Artisans in the informal sector who were making slippers for a living. Kariokor Market is one such resource, it is a large low income establishment milling with”Jua Kali” businessmen struggling to eke a living off their culture-based talents sold at highly competitive prices to attract the masses and put some coins in their pocket to take home. Due to the large number of artisans on the same mission, they sometimes go home with barely anything to show for braving the different weather conditions to walk from their housing projects to the market.
These merchants are desperate for opportunity, and even though their workmanship could do with some improvement, they have mini cottage industries set from raw skill. In that respect, we plan to tap into this resourceful “Jua Kali” merchants in Kariokor market, to make use of recyclable material such as cloth cut offs disposed by tailors and old tyres to create eco-ethical footwear that will improve the quality of life for this community that is talented yet overlooked.
Our Creatives have great ideas but for their ground level expertise, a collaboration with the Artisans is imminent. Together, we can create quality, affordable footwear, designed in four lines. In addition to family, we have a responsibility to work with and build our community and environment in innovative ways.
The rationale to the four lines of shoes is to build on the Kenyan culture of a family unit. Kenyan culture is ripe with the importance of family and the shoes are designed to reflect this through a Women casual shoe; role a woman plays in a Kenyan home, Children’s play sneakers ;to celebrate that we encourage children to play so they learn, and innovate the culture of Kenya, Sandals; To celebrate Nairobi, the city in the sun and Men’s casual; To celebrate the role of men in Kenyan culture.
We will provide access to resources and markets while creating additional sources of income for Kenyans by creating competitive moving products. Through the 7000 Creatives we have on our database, we are optimistic to provide an invaluable artist resource.