Name: Irene Muthami
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Social Media: f: Irene Muthami, Instagram: Irene Muthami
As a fashion designer, I strongly believe that science and technology is the way forward for all industries. Growing up, I had a great fascination for these two elements and as I went into Fashion, they continued to be a great source of inspiration for me. I also draw inspiration from nature, current issues, different world cultures as well as techniques in fabric manipulation and garment construction. My approach is indicative of skill and technique and is often a juxtaposition of elements such as fabrics or techniques.
My Creative Life-cycle
I was born in a science inclined family with little to no exposure to the arts. My mother however, did have a sewing machine as was the custom in their generation but didn’t use it. I took home science in High school for two years but wasn’t particularly good at it so I dropped it in form three. After high school I thought I would be an engineer but didn’t score high enough grades, and my sister suggested I do design as it was a growing field. I went there blindly, with no clue of what it would involve. I struggled in the practical classes of drawing, painting and others but really enjoyed the theory of design and art history. Then we were gradually introduced to the foundation units of textile design, and it’s here that I finally felt like I could be good at design. It was a no brainier for me when we were to specialize in third year, when I took Fashion and Textiles Design.
My lecturer, Ogake Mosomi, guided me through the two years that I studied Fashion and textiles. I learnt how to put a clothing collection together which was an intense process of conceptualisation, research, sketching, pattern drafting, sewing and finally presenting these pieces on a runway show. My mother’s machine came in handy and it was the first machine I ever owned. After school, I went on to work for various local companies where I have been able to refine my skills, gain new ones, and develop a strong work ethic. One of the places I worked at, Panah Ltd, was very influential and I learned so much while I was there. I have since gone off on my own, where I continue to refine my skills and I’m in the process of developing my brand.
Be a fashion-production powerhouse providing affordable ready-to-wear clothing to the Kenyan market.
Establish a fashion production powerhouse stocking retail outlets in Kenya with innovative, interesting, sustainable and affordable ready-to-wear clothing.
• Hard work
Business Model Statement
I offer customised clothing, with a perfect fit and of a high quality to Kenyan women.
Over the next 18 months I will tackle different areas that relate to my business and these are;
1. Research- I will carry out product research as well as market research to better understand my target market and my industry.
2. Production- I will work towards increasing my production capacity.
3. Business Structures- I will work on my finances, taxation and find out legal issues that affect my domain.
4. Brand Identity & marketing- I will develop different areas of my brand and how to package it as well as create visibility for my products.
5. Value Addition- I will strive to offer creative products that are highly valuable to my customers.
6. Collaborations- I will follow up on the meaningful networks I have made through this course as well as the ones I already have.
Photography by Alex Gabriel and Liz Andere. Makeup by Maureen Mbugua