Anyanga Adeyde venture into fashion and design was borne out of passion

By Harriet James
Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Adeyde displays her designs. Photo/PD/Courtesy

Harriet James @harriet86jim

During her trips to the Masaai Market, Anyango Adeyde, a fashion designer, would buy her favourite jewellery, but would be uninspired when she saw how it was mass produced yet she wanted to have unique pieces.

This, in turn, birthed a passion in her to create jewellery and designs for people who enjoy owning something distinct. 

She only faced one problem: she didn’t know how to start. 

“My friend, Dr Amakove Wala, gave me a gig to create 2,000 African-inspired conference bags.

This pushed me and gave me the confidence to get into the creative space,” she recalls. 

That she was born and raised in Rombo in Kajiado county, grew her passion for beads even further. 

Growing up, she was puzzled to see the piercing and brass pieces on her grandfather’s ears because she thought only the Maasais pierce their ears.

“Seeing this on Suba elder from the island of Mafangano was very intriguing,” she adds.

Sure that this would be her passion for life, Adeyde studied online and watched YouTube videos on how to create style with a meaning.

In 2017, she began creating jewellery using bones, beads and brass and establsihed her own brand, Zanta Adeyde. 

“Over the years, the passion has grown from jewellery into designing and creating pure leather handbags and bespoke accessories inspired by nature globally incorporated into our daily lives,” says Adeyde. 

Timeless pieces

All the bags and jewellery are produced by young men and women from Kibera coming from underprivileged backgrounds. 

At different stages, each product is made up of vast touches and recycled materials collected across the country. 

“The one thing that makes me happy is creating pieces that are timeless and working through the process with the client.

Most bags are customised and engraved as per the client’s wishes and I ensure that I have limited version of each design,” she narrates.

Recently, Adeyde added leather from Ethiopia to her materials. 

“I mix in between Kenyan and Ethiopian tanneries. I explore Ethiopia because of their creativity in terms of colours, patterns, quality and cost,” she adds.

With a potential of approximately Sh35 billion, the fashion industry in Kenya still struggles to align itself with the wider, more lucrative international market.

Lack of proper visibility through advertising and backing from the government are some reasons for this.  

In 2019, Adeyde was privileged to attend the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s African week in Paris, France to speak about the Kenyan designer insights.

In September the same year, she was invited to attend the Milan Fashion Week, which was a great avenue for her to interact with different clientele bases across the globe.

Such events are a platform where designers can interact with other stakeholders and international buyers.

“The black community in France is very enthusiastic about ‘buy Africa, build Africa’.

I was touched by Ambassador Phyllis Kandie who was keen on supporting Kenyan designers and  that she believes in all Kenyan tribes and the creative sector,” says Adeyde. 

Despite cancelation of international travels, the International Trade Centre She Trades picked Adeyde to exhibit on the first ever Digital Market at New York Now for 2020 -2021.  

She opened a concept store at Village Market, where she supports nine brands such as Ogake Kenya, Peggy O, Mambo Pambo and others. 

“When I took up the store I did not expect a pandemic as it happened just a week of tenancy.

However, I kept hope alive and the Village Market management was understanding as they gave waivers and kept assuring us it will be well,” she says. 

Adeyde notes that there has been a great growth on Kenyans appreciation towards made-in-Kenya brands particularly Kenyans abroad who are super stylish. 

“The market is vast and Kenyans are stylish and appreciate good things. Kenyans are evolving; they have a distinct touch on fine things,” she adds.

 But with all the success, there also comes challenges of running a business. One of them  is that she was the only worker in the store, working during the day and creating at night.

The second challenge is the production capacity and the lack of creativity in the country.

“Many people replicate and copy what they see others do instead of doing unique designs for their clients. 

I thrive on creating different products always. I am keen on luxury. I keep saying normalise luxury and quality,” observes Adeyde. 

As a dedicated humanitarian organisation, Zanta ensures that 10 per cent of every jewellery sale goes to purchase yarns for making prosthesis for the Limau Cancer Connection, an organisation that gives free “knitted knockers” to women who’ve had their breast removed. She also donates some to the survivors of sexual abuse in Kibera. 

Harriet James

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