Although the Fashion Design industry in Kenya is still struggling to make the lucrative international market, it has with no doubt come a long way. In a country that takes many cues from the United States and other countries, its future is looking quite good. The current fashion scene in Kenya is changing the way we look at the fashion industry.

Below is a list of 10 top Kenyan fashion designers you need to know.

1. Sally Karago

Sally Karago is a fashion design veteran who pioneered the fashion industry since the early 90’s, when she launched the Mcensal fashion house and has since then never stopped gracing the Kenyan fashion scene. In 2009 Sally founded Mcensal school of fashion giving our up and coming fashion designers a solid foundation to venture into the world of fashion and design.

Sally was the first fashion designer to incorporate Masai blanket and Kikoi fabric into her designs, inspired by contemporary Africa. In 2014 Sally Karago added yet another brand under her belt; SK Collection, a ready-to-wear line for all ages. The steady and versed fashion designer has won many accolades including Smirnoff Awards Kenya in 1993 and the Mnet Fare of Africa.

2. Patricia Mbela

Patricia Mbela has loved fashion and garment construction since childhood and at the age of 14, young Patricia decided that she would become a fashion designer. She has been showcasing her talent through fashion and jewelry design for 16 years and is ranked among Africa’s top fashion and jewelry designers, producing for both men and women.

The fashion designer is based in Nairobi and is the proud owner of the famed House of Agano in Kenya, also founder of the label Poisa that has transformed how Kenya views fashion, due to its uniqueness and undeniable talent that’s inspired by the Kenyan breeding culture . In 2005, Patricia was among the two designers chosen to provide for Nokia face of Africa shoot. She likes to call her brand “Wearable Art” which has been showcased all over the world.

3. John Kaveke

Founded in 2001, the John Kaveke label is the brainchild of a twist on contemporary African bespoke tailoring style. John Kaveke is one of the most sought-after designers in Kenya.

His designs have graced catwalks such as African London Fashion Week {London}, Sarajevo Fashion Week (Bosnia), Hub of Africa (Ethiopia), Swahili Fashion Week (Tanzania), Uganda Fashion Week (Uganda), M-Net Face of Africa (Nigeria), The Big Brother Africa House (South Africa), Catwalk Kenya (Nairobi), Lake Magadi project, Festival for African Fashion & Art (Nairobi), and the International Smirnoff Fashion Awards (Nairobi).

4. Vivienne Taa

Vivienne Taa is a key figure in the fashion industry. The founder of the renowned fashion house Vivienne Taa which deals with blending African prints, contemporary fabric and designs into beautifully styled exotic clothes and accessories for fashion lovers, both men and women. Her brand is also known for creating fashionable bespoke, occasional and bridal wear, custom made uniforms and ready-to-wear clothing.

Although her brand is new to the market, it has made tremendous growth, set apart by its innovation and skillful attention to detail. Her designs draw inspiration from the African culture, especially music and art.

5. Wambui Mukenyi

Wambui Mukenyi is a steady , pro and versed fashion designer in the industry. Though self taught, Wambui Mukenyi has gone to receive national recognition. The founder of the WM Label has been showcasing her love for luxurious fabric, whilst at the same time instilling her African heritage to produce timeless, feminine and elegant pieces since 2009.

Wambui then extended her brand into making African wedding gowns and ready-to-wear clothes full of creativity and style. Her effortlessly stylish and creative pieces, known to reflect on her client’s personality and style, have been featured in many fashion magazines in Kenya.

6.Jamil Walji

Jamil Walji is a Couture bridal designer, who has been doing big things in the Kenyan fashion scene, so much so,that he showcased his work on international fashion platforms. Inspired by the concept of starting a couture bridal line, Jamil wanted to be apart of his client’s big day to help develop spectacular gowns made to measure the bride’s specific. Although brides can be a challenging group to work with, Jamil loves working one one one with brides to develop the ultimate gown.

7. Faith Migwi

Faith ‘Manciny’ Migwi has made her name in the Kenyan fashion scene. Its impossible not to fall in love with Faith because like Wambui Mukenyi, she is also self-taught. In 2012, Faith Migwi dived into the deep end of this pool, that is the fashion and design industry in Kenya, where she started off by designing clutches and bags made from recycled plastic paper bags. Faith is the brain child of the Manciny Designs, a man’s wear brand inspired by contemporary Africa.

Faith is also founder of  “Nyadhi”, a women’s wear brand, and “The Urban Gentleman”, a men’s brand that provides styling and design services for men.

8. Laura Lwala

Laura Lalwa is one of the youngest Kenyan Designers who must be celebrated. She is known for her jewelry designs made using beads and metal. Much of her work uses Brass, her metal of choice to create unique pieces of jewelry, where every piece is different from the other. Today she is killing it in the fashion scene with her collection. Some of the popular people in Kenya who have worn her pieces include  Sharon Mundia and Cece Sagini.

Laura Lalwa is the pioneer of the brand Pryde Arts.

9. Nick Ondu

Nick Ondu is the CEO of Ankara Vintage,a leading fashion house in Nairobi. He is also known for dressing the famous “Sauti Sol”, an award winning Afro-pop group in Kenya. He not only designs for men but has also included women’s designs in his collection. Nick Ondu’s designs stands out from crowds due his attention to detail, and his focus on ethnic prints.He recently launched a new collection “The Sartorial Man”  an impeccable fusion of indisputable British elegance and indefectible Italian style.

He has graced many runways including FAFA (Festival for African Fashion and Arts).

10. Kate Mayeye

Kate Mayeye is the Kenyan designer inspired by Nigerian Fashion. She is the CEO of African Fabrics and Designs Kenya Ltd. Kate Mayeye introduced a different fashion culture in Kenya and beyond, placing the African print on the world map. Recently, Kate had the rare chance of styling an award winning Nigerian actress, Angela Okorie, for three high profile red carpet events.