Written by Nakhulo Khaimia:

The African themed fabric is featuring more and more in local adverts. As you drive around Nairobi, you will spot at least a billboard or two with Kitenge, Ankara or Lesso fabric on display. The trend is being replicated on digital marketing platforms such as websites and on social media.

There is a growing demand and love for African fabric amongst Kenyans, which in turn is contributing heavily to the insights that inform the Adverts we see. In advertising, the message and target market play a big role when developing effective communication campaigns.

Power-couple Wahu & Nameless in the ‘Two Good to be True’ campaign by Two Rivers Mall. Image courtesy of Arnold Lakita.

Two Rivers Mall

Having recently launched, Two Rivers Mall is on everyone’s mind. How it managed to attract people’s attention is worth discussing. They rolled out a loud and proud advertising campaign, which brought out the Africa Rising concept that creative team behind it had envisioned.

The whole idea, including wardrobe and visuals was full of color to bring out the vibrancy of contemporary African style. Speaking about the campaign, Arnold Lakita (creative director), said that they used celebrity models to resonate with the target audience’s lifestyle.

Comedians Churchill & Eric Omondi in the ‘Two Good to be True’ campaign by Two Rivers Mall. Courtesy of Arnold Lakita

Crown Paints

In the same light, Crown Paints has also used a similar concept in their social media campaign dubbed ‘Colorful Life’. An online audience gets attracted to how you connect them in relation to what they do on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, it is more about how one communicates a message; rather than about pushing a product or service down the their throats.

According to Shitawa Bah, Digital Strategist for Crown Paints, their online campaign proved to be a success as a result of the idea and execution. Shitawa emphasized on the incorporation of the Kitenge fabric as a way of reaching out to their target demographic.

‘Colorful Life’ campaign by Crown Paints. Images courtesy of Shitawa Bah, Digital Strategist, Crown Paints.

Other corporates that have used the African fabric theme in their adverts are Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). They embraced the African fabric style for their Own Your Home (OYOH) product. In their Advert they used the African fabric on the furniture and backdrop bringing in a new twist in the use of the material for interior décor.


The theme is slowly being accepted in the corporate world. Most ladies and a few men can now wear outfits with splashes of African fabrics without looking too casual. It is a clear indication that corporate world is now embracing and recognising the style trend.

However, in the recent past, events with an African dress code are fast moving away from just wearing the fabric to showcasing designs made by artists on the continent. A recent event dubbed Fashion High Tea 2017 was awash with more than just African fabric themed styles. It is quickly becoming vogue to have more than one African designed outfit in your wardrobe. Ask  fashion PR expert Diana Opoti, who recently challenged her followers, to name 5 african designed outfits in their wardrobe (check out the responses here).

Diana Opoti, wearing a dress by Tiffany Amber (Nigeria) at the Fashion High Tea 2017. Photo credit Nick Klaus.

One might wonder where they can showcase their African styled outfits other than at weddings and corporate events. On Saturday March 11th a group of ladies under the Nurtured Knotts banner will be hosting the Hairitage Chronicles (see details on poster below). The event is the 2nd installation in their natural hair and living event the first of which was held in November 2016. At this event one can wear African themed outfits of their choosing in a celebration of what our continent has to offer. At the end of the day it’s all about being proud of our roots and what we have to offer.


Nakhulo Khaimia is the Creative Director & Owner of TrendyB Fashion House • Arnold Lakita part of the creative collective –  Village Creative.


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