Kennedy Mirema’s creative direction shines a light on Kenya’s cultural richness

For Kennedy Mirema, style and photography is an extension of heritage, being first immersed in the act of expression while being styled by his parents during his time growing up in Kenya. “My parents would take me for photo studio sessions, especially during holidays like Christmas”, catalysing his regard for fashion photography, he tells us.

While at university in Nairobi, Kennedy connected with like-minded students sharing similar interests in the field, and became one of the founders of the creative collective, 199xOrg. “Together we brainstormed ideas, styled ourselves and photographed each other, honing our skills and exploring our creative potentials.” This petri-dish period allowed him to catapult into the fashion scene in the city, “gaining insights and inspiration from its rich cultural tapestry”.

Throughout Kennedy’s creative direction there is an immediate bonding of people and landscape, greatly owed to his focus on curation at every turn; creating looks that are both innovative and reflective of the individual personalities. His process typically starts with a research period where he immerses himself in the client’s backdrop, and current trends taking over the industry, before a period of cohesion where he hones in on visual narrative. This technique allows us to see beyond the adornments of fashion and heed the cultural contexts beneath them; why does this clothing meld with that convenience store? Why does the flowy linen assortment belong on those sandy shores?

Kennedy’s commitment to working on projects that challenge conventional fashion norms is immediately apparent. “From avant-garde editorials to conceptual campaigns and collaborations with local artists,” he tells us. And his creative influences are born of that same creed, often from Kenya’s culture and traditions, “which I don’t believe have been explored enough as the focus is often on West and Southern Africa”. It’s the vibrant colours, intricate patterns found in Kenyan culture that keeps him steadfast on his creative journey with boldness and authenticity. “I aim to shine a light on Kenya’s cultural heritage and richness by bringing it to the global stage.”

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