Architects design a bright future in tailoring

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Fashion

Architects design a bright future in tailoring


BrianMatthews

Brian Ongwenyi, one of the co-founders of Taisere Design during the interview in Nairobi on Monday 8 November 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Summary

  • For the fashion conscious, bespoke is becoming the ultimate indulgence.
  • But the pain of chasing a tailor for months and ending up in a non-perfectly fitting, finely stitched suit has led many Kenyans to opt for ready-to-wear clothes.
  • And this is where Ian Omondi and his business partner Brian Ongwenyi found a niche.

For the fashion conscious, bespoke is becoming the ultimate indulgence. But the pain of chasing a tailor for months and ending up in a non-perfectly fitting, finely stitched suit has led many Kenyans to opt for ready-to-wear clothes.

And this is where Ian Omondi and his business partner Brian Ongwenyi found a niche.

The two founded Taisere Designs, which makes clothes but with a different strategy. To save customers the time of having to go to their shop, have them measured, choose fabrics, and wait weeks for stitching and rehearsal, the two make home or office calls.

They have made their services more accessible by being available anywhere to take measurements, provide fabric options on site, and even deliver clothes when ready.

“You don’t have to come to our laboratory. You just have to indicate your location and we will be on hand with fabric swatches and our tape measure to get your right size. We also show them samples of drawings. This gives customers a tighter and more unique style, made our products more understanding in size, ”said 27-year-old Ian.

The two began making clothes while pursuing an architecture degree from the University of Nairobi which they completed in 2018.

“We realized we had a passion for it while still in school and decided to give it a try. We used to create the designs and take them to our tailor. Our friends liked the way we looked and started asking for paid clothes, ”said Brian, who is 28.

They later became popular at the university as demand increased with various students approaching them for suits. They saved the profit and bought a sewing machine worth Sh45,000.

“It was expensive then, but because we were two people passionate about everything that had to do with design, we took the risk,” he said.

Three years later, their largest clientele is in the corporate world, celebrities attending gala events and wedding attendees as groomsmen.

Their dresses are now targeting customers who can part with Sh30,000 to Sh40,000 for one dress.

For cheap clothes, they charge Sh8,000 to Sh15,000.

“What made our dresses popular is the smooth finish and could easily be mistaken for suits made by master tailors,” Brian tells BDLife, adding that they take seven to ten days to complete the dress.

She also said their popularity was determined by the unique fabric they use in each outfit. They use 100% wool. Their most popular is Jacquard, which has good prints which make it popular and suitable for ceremonial events.

Due to the varying temperatures customers live in, Brian says they also use linen fabrics for those who live in warm regions and would prefer lightweight fabrics. The cheapest fabrics are wool mixed with polyester which also makes good products once designed.

So far they have employed three tailors to help with the workload, as well as two doing the design work in their Nairobi workshop.

“We would like to bridge the gap between cheap and expensive clothes. Someone can get a dress similar to one worth Sh200,000 in designer stores for half or even a quarter of the price, “she said.

In order for the duo to carve a niche in the emerging industry, they also apply some of what was taught in their architecture classes.

“There are basic design principles, primary concepts of bold colors in creating unique clothes,” said Brian, adding that young people need to take risks.

“Pursue only what you love, you never know. It’s nice to make money from something you’ve made with your own hands, “he said.

The two say that while they currently work in the fashion industry, they could also easily work as freelance architects if they get clients.

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ing available at any location to take measurements, provide fabric options on site, and even deliver dresses when ready.

“You don’t have to come to our laboratory. You just have to indicate your location and we will be on hand with fabric swatches and our tape measure to get your right size. We also show them samples of drawings. This gives customers a tighter and more unique style, made our products more understanding in size, ”said 27-year-old Ian.

The two began making clothes while pursuing an architecture degree from the University of Nairobi which they completed in 2018.

“We realized we had a passion for it while we were still in school and decided to give it a try. We used to create the designs and take them to our tailor. Our friends liked the way we looked and started asking for paid clothes, ”said Brian, who is 28.

They later became popular at the university as demand increased with various students approaching them for suits. They saved the profit and bought a sewing machine worth Sh45,000.

“It was expensive then, but because we were two people passionate about everything that had to do with design, we took the risk,” he said.

Three years later, their largest clientele is in the corporate world, celebrities attending gala events and wedding attendees as groomsmen.

Their dresses are now targeting customers who can part with Sh30,000 to Sh40,000 for one dress.

For cheap clothes, they charge Sh8,000 to Sh15,000.

“What made our dresses popular is the smooth finish and could easily be mistaken for suits made by master tailors,” Brian tells BDLife, adding that they take seven to ten days to complete the dress.

She also said their popularity was determined by the unique fabric they use in each outfit. They use 100% wool. Their most popular is Jacquard, which has good prints which make it popular and suitable for ceremonial events.

Due to the varying temperatures customers live in, Brian says they also use linen fabrics for those who live in warm regions and would prefer lightweight fabrics. The cheapest fabrics are wool mixed with polyester which also makes good products once designed.

So far they have employed three tailors to help with the workload, as well as two doing the design work in their Nairobi workshop.

“We would like to bridge the gap between cheap and expensive clothes. Someone can get a dress similar to one worth Sh200,000 in designer stores for half or even a quarter of the price, “she said.

In order for the duo to carve a niche in the emerging industry, they also apply some of what was taught in their architecture classes.

“There are basic design principles, primary concepts of bold colors in creating unique clothes,” said Brian, adding that young people need to take risks.

“Pursue only what you love, you never know. It’s nice to make money from something you’ve made with your own hands, “he said.

The two say that while they currently work in the fashion industry, they could also easily work as freelance architects if they get clients.

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