The sensual art of henna design

The intoxicating fragrance of henna preceded the arrival of the bridal party into the room.

And then every eye was drawn to the bride herself with her hands and feet covered in the most delicate henna patterns—an intricacy equalled only by the minute filigree work on her bridal outfit.

The body art of henna, or mehndi, has been practised for over 5,000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. It has always been associated with sensuality, fertility and celebration and most commonly seen at weddings and other joyous occasions.

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Published in Business Daily, February 28 2013

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The hottest sari trends from international designers

You would be forgiven for thinking the sari is an outfit that doesn’t quite mesh with contemporary fashion trends.

But it turns out that its simplicity – a six metre drape wrapped around the hips, the waist and then thrown over the left shoulder – is exactly what makes it versatile and timeless.

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Published in Business Daily, January 24 2014

Flower power builds a top fashion brand

For Kenyan born fashion designer Deepa Dosaja, it started with a single flower.

She hand drew and painted a bunch of them onto a piece of light material using vibrant colours; trimmed the edges with thread embroidery, beads and sequins; and voila: it was her first design using a distinctive flower pattern.

That was nearly 20 years ago, and the piece still holds pride of place in her Riverside showroom. Today, that same flower has become the signature of her brand, and has precipitated the trajectory of the Deepa Dosaja fashion label.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, November 2013

Executive Interview: Ann McCreath, Kiko Romeo

All doubts about the profitability of Kenya’s creative industry were put to bed last month when the five year old Fashion for Festival and Arts attracted a Sh3million sponsorship from the Commercial Bank of Africa. That phased into a series of workshops at Riara University which saw the country’s leading capitalists – including business mogul Chris Kirubi, money market investor Aly-Khan Satchu, technocrat Bitange Ndemo – advise young entrepreneurs on how to build a strong business.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, September 2013

Firm moves from building exteriors to decorating interiors

It may seem like a big leap from architecture to fashion accessories. But for Max van Wageningen, director and model maker at Cocoon Group, it was the natural next step in catering to the evolving needs of a highly trend conscious Kenyan consumer.

And so earlier this year, Cocoon Group — a three-year-old architecture firm that specialises in photo-real visualisation, model making and animation — established a product line called Pink Impala which develops fashion accessories and interior decor items.

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Published in Business Daily, April 25 2013

The city we live in

34-year-old Kiuri Mburathi of Insight Architecture is young, ambitious and highly skilled. He started his own firm in 2009, and has impressed the Kenyan property market with his avant garde designs and styles.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, November 2012