Young Inspired Fashion Designer, Patricia Wakaimba, Talks to Jamati
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The ever increasing development and setting of higher standards in the fashion industry has not only been contributed by experienced masters of the art, but also from the thriving newcomers into the industry with diversity and uniqueness. They say, talent is nurtured, but for Patricia Wakaimba, talent was just by her side. Jamati Entourage, Kenya caught up with Patricia in an interview.
Jamati: How old are you?
Patricia: I’m 21 years old.
Jamati: Describe your life to where you are right now?
Patricia: I was born in Nairobi, and went to the Banda School in Langata, Nairobi. At age 13 I went to boarding school in (Mill Hill) London and then on to higher education. I have completed Fashion and Arts at Central Saint Martins, London with a Distinction. I am currently a second year Bacculaureate student at Kings College, London and am studying Finance and Economics. I am lucky to have very supportive parents who have encouraged and supported me every step of the way.
Jamati: What inspired you to be a designer?
Patricia: I have always been creative and have painted my whole life; it’s what comes natural to me. I took a foundation course in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins, whilst never specializing in Fashion, it allowed me to explore and experiment various new mediums and forms and find and create my own style. Being in London is also a huge fashion influence; in living in a truly stimulating and cosmopolitan environment, I am surrounded by exciting design developments not to mention incredible clothes! Last year I begun designing and by the summer I had built up a collection; the journey begun from there really.
Jamati: Tell us about your fashion line – Bahati?
Patricia: ‘Bahati’ is a Swahili word that means luck and good fortune. At the age of 20 I took on something I didn’t know very much about. I launched a fashion line, had a fashion show and tried to raise awareness on the harmful effects of Female Genital Mutilation. At the time all I knew was that I loved to design and watch a sketch grow into a finished vibrant and unique garment. I find the Bahati name appropriate; it’s always good to have a little luck on your side. Looking back on the past six months, all I can say is that I truly have been blessed!
Jamati: What is the reason why you chose African inspired designs and feminine wear?
Patricia: I love lesso prints and the truth is I can’t get enough of them; I’m still excited when I see a new print design. It’s such a versatile and visually rich fabric that inspires my garment designs. Bahati is about embracing Africa’s infinite cultural diversity through the use of bold and vibrant prints! There’s a lot more freedom in designing for women then there is for men. I wanted my first collection to be feminine, fun and individual! Women have always been my focus. I design for ladies of all ages. I believe that style is more about a state of mind than a specific demographic. My designs are fun and feminine and for anyone willing to be different.
Jamati: How was your Fashion show in 2009?
Patricia: I launched Bahati in August 2009 with a fashion show at the K1 Klub House in Nairobi. So far it’s the only show that I’ve had, it’s only been 6 months and I do plan on having many more! The fashion show was such an incredible experience! I had a turn out of guests that exceeded my expectations where many tickets were sold, and, I’m still amazed by the way in which the audience received Bahati. I’d worked so hard in the months coming up trying to get everything together that I couldn’t believe it when the show was finally over; a thoroughly rewarding experience.
Jamati: What are your goals and how are you set to achieve them?
Patricia: I’d like to increase my target market and reach out to a wider audience both locally and internationally. I am beginning to design for men, its on early stages now but I’m hoping to release a line by the summer. It’s going to be a laid back casual collection injection color into men’s wardrobes! In the long run I plan to grow Bahati into a fully sustainable and internationally recognized fashion label. The real challenge is in growing the brand and I’ll have to ensure my designs remain fresh and innovative and continue to stand as a truly modern day symbol of cultural expression. Other challenges include finding the time to successfully oversee all aspects such as marketing and sales whilst make time for my degree. Amongst many things I’ve learned to be patient.
Jamati: Future expectations?
Patricia: I’m currently working on a collection that I’m hoping to release in the summer whilst at the same time I’d like to branch into men’s fashion. My latest designs incorporate a wider selection of fabrics and intricate beadwork and embellishments; they’re going to be more feminine and vibrant than the last! I’ve currently got a Kiboko line of handbags; I’m hoping to expand on this too.
Jamati: What is Kiboko?
Patricia: Kiboko is the name of my handbags, they are bright, large (you can fit just about anything in them) and funky.
Jamati: How does it feel to have accomplished all this at your age?
Patricia: Incredible! So much time and effort has gone into making my dream a reality but it’s all been totally worthwhile!