Week one of Covid-19 in Kenyan, (around late March) I was pretty chill about it until we went on curfew. I guess before it was serious but to me, it was a distant enemy. Then one morning as I lay in bed it hit me, “Crap! I’m in the fashion industry and people will not be looking to be buying a bag or some jewellery.” I was also conflicted about asking people to spend on none-essentials when I knew as an individual I’d be saving my money and trying to survive this. I remember asking the last client who bought a bag if she should be spending her money on a bag. Then it hit me, wait, shiiii this is my livelihood.
A few mornings later it hit a little more different. (is it obvious yet that I’m not a morning person?) I realised a majority of Kenyans myself included are a paycheck, a month’s savings away from breaching into poverty, being kicked out and suddenly being homeless. It has sadly happened to over 7000 people. Some from nature and others by the hand of our government. It’s incredibly sad that people can be so indifferent. Majority of the times my instinct is to stay away from the news but it sometimes feels like burying my head in the sand. A story for another day. I can feel myself digressing.
Anyway, I had been planning to launch my (VKirotet) website when COVID – 19 hit but decided to postpone it till I knew the best way to go about it while being empathetical about the situation. I knew I didn’t want to ask people to spend their money on my items and I wanted for them to use it wisely. To priorities surviving during these strange times. (I’m not saying people pushing their brands are doing it wrong, at the end of the day it’s our livelihood and by our businesses, we support the families of the people who we work with. So these are my feeling and trust me I can see my privilege to be able to do this) I shared this with my side developer and he helped me realise that yea, sure my heart is in the right place, but also some people love what I create and can support the business and still survive.
Considering these two factors, we decided to still launch the site but to do it a bit differently. What my heart settled on was to put up content that will help us all cope, help motivate and support each other in whatever we are doing while getting to know each other. You know, some COVID -19 coping tips, I still don’t know how to go about it. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go.
I’ll love to hear back from you all. I’d love to build a society which is what I have wanted since I started this journey. I have been procrastinating because I have been unsure about it until I got some validation. I have always wanted to do fashion differently. Isn’t it weird how we can have a conviction to do something but we’ll put it off cause of fear of failing or being judged or being misunderstood? Hell, sometimes we don’t do stuff that is amazing because society wants us to just blend.
So I’m saying F this ish! This might be career suicide but I hope it works out. I’ll jump head fast as I do with everything, and just ride this wave with the prayer that you’ll feel this and join the tribe. The fashion differently, accepting brave global citizens doing what makes our souls sing while supporting each other through the journey.
Crap! I’m such a dreamer, maybe even naive but here goes. I hope I’ll see you. PS, I still don’t know how to go about it but if I don’t start I just never will. Join me in being brave?
PS I still want to support the people I work with. So we have been producing fabric face masks. We donate 3 pieces with every 8 pieces we sell. This math though, why can’t I make my work easier? Sad. Just sad.