You probably know him as Nyawawah Nyakwar Janekoh on social media but the Government recognizes him as Kenlewis Aswani. A 21 year old professional dancer, fashion stylist, designer and a commercial model based in Kisumu urban area. After high school, he ventured into fashion and design and is planning to launch his clothing line early next year known as Trends Afrocentrics 254. Since education is key, he also has plans to join college earlier the same year too to extend his knowledge in fashion and design. After seeing some of unique designs, we set out to know more about him and what he does. Here is what he told us.
When did you venture into the fashion industry and why?
I did that way back in 2013, a year after clearing high school. I ventured into fashion since I felt Kisumu needed a new breed of young and vibrant fashion designers to steer the Kenyan fashion market to another level. I had lots of interest in creating new stuff from scratch. I was driven by my passion to be creative and this made me design good stuff in the highly competitive high end fashion market. I started off by doing “ankara shoes” the commonly known as Kenyandula and eco sandals made from the African kitenge clothing and old tire ‘akala’ soles.
What challenges have you faced in the fashion industry in Kisumu?
The challenges vary a lot in The Kisumu fashion industry. I’d say we still growing and we have a long way to go in matters fashion. Lack of opportunities in terms of platform and a dependable audience to showcase your artistic work. Finance too is a hindrance. Sometimes you have to dig deep into your pockets to finance production cost and marketing of your designs. Again demand is still low because uniquely designed clothes like mine tend to be a little bit expensive compared to the cheap ones imported from China. Us in the fashion industry have been getting positive responses in the last 3 years. People are starting to appreciate our work compared to back in the days when everyone proffered foreign stuff in matters design
Who are your role models?
I always look up to Wambui Thimba the Kenyan Celebrity Stylist. She’s got passion for everything she does and her designs and style are creative and awesomely done
Any word of advice to anyone wishing to join the fashion industry?
Follow your heart…and do what you love. Be Pessimistic, Be Permissive, Be Passionate, Be Practical, Be Prayerful. Above all work smart, the sky ain’t the limit.