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Creative DNA 3.0 cohort designers

British Council to boost growth of Kenya’s fashion industry by supporting 20 start-ups

The third cohort of the Creative DNA programme will gain from action-based learning through coaching sessions, mentorship by UK industry experts, co-created online campaigns, and access to market opportunities in Kenya and the UK. 

Nairobi February 2023: Twenty Kenya-based start-ups have been selected to benefit from a British Council programme funded by the Foreign Commonwealth Office to support the growth of the local fashion industry.

The businesses will form the third cohort of the Creative DNA programme launched in 2020 to develop skills, knowledge and global networks for local fashion designers. 

The programme has so far incubated 31 fashion businesses who have seen their businesses grow through linkage with the UK market. Sharon Wendo of Epica jewellery who graduated from the first cohort was recently part of a Creative DNA delegation to the UK for a fashion installation at Protein Studios London during London Fashion Week. The installation spotlighted Africa’s emerging talent and featured designers from seven countries across the continent. The visual display depicted creations rooted in eco-consciousness, expression, heritage and cultural nuances narrated through intricate textiles and unprecedented talent. 

The Creative DNA 3.0 cohort designers are:

Akiba Studios; Molivian; Matia Kenya; Aert Fashion; Vaa Ke; Oye; Amagove Mugere; Mago Got You; Uncommon Rebel; Tribal Trends; The Label Saba; Tausi Conde; Bonkerz Nrb; Mrembo Africa; Theresia Kyallo; Alegohono; True Denim Collection; African Yuva Solutions; Hisi Studio; The Bold Latte

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Edwin Maina

About Creative DNA

The British Council is working with local fashion designers to boost the growth of a sustainable creative industry through a programme aimed at developing their skills, knowledge and global networks.

The programme dubbed Creative DNA is supporting designers through the development of business and creative skills focusing primarily on promoting alternative and innovative approaches to the global fashion system.

The Creative DNA 3.0 programme will offer business incubation support to 20 Kenyan based early-stage fashion and accessory enterprises. Created to provide business skill development, strengthen networks in Kenya and in the UK and offer action-based learning through digital coaching sessions, co- created online campaigns, and market opportunities.

This programme builds on the success of 2020 and 2022’s Creative DNA 1.0 and 2.0 programmes. The participants of these programmes become integral parts of the creative economies and networks in Kenya. It encourages designers to consider their cultural heritage, local traditions and crafts skills, personal identity and how these are represented in their design and communicated globally.

The British Council’s Head of Arts, Kenya and East Africa, Sandra Chege says, “Fashion is one of the pillars of the British Council’s mission to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. The British Council, working with their international network of international offices makes a positive contribution to the countries they work with through changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.”

The business support area of work is a six-week Bootcamp for 20 fashion businesses run in partnership with Project manager Silvia Tonui; veteran fashion designer and teacher Ann McCreath and Fashion Scout UK. The Bootcamp will support all 20 entrepreneurs’ ambitions to grow their businesses by tackling growth-stage challenges such as attracting the right customers, scaling to new markets, finding partners, and securing investment.

The CDNA program will make available 10 seed grants valued at Ksh 3,000,000 to increase the ability of the participants to innovate and chart a new path for their businesses.

British Council Kenya Arts programme supports the creation of new art and fosters partnerships between the creative sectors of the UK and East Africa. This project is committed to working with creatives and their communities to promote innovation and creativity, whilst promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion.