Fashion critic Robert Burale admits that some mitumba wear is pretty stylish which is why “I believe the most stylish people are from Eastlands and the most expensive clothes are from Karen, but this does not mean people who live in Eastlands are poor but they really dress to kill.”
Burale says for a guide on dressing on the cheap, any aspiring fashionista should look up to college students who dress to kill without money and largely because of second hand clothes.
“Style is born but fashion is a trend, I was so disappointed when I realised a muhindi shop I used to buy my suits for Sh30,000 got their suits from Nairobi West Market which cost Sh4,000, all they used to do was to clean it well, iron and put labels,” recalls Burale, adding that “I even met the guy of the shop shopping in Nairobi West.”
Burale further offers that legit imports could be out of reach of our fake middle class and therefore there is nothing bottom drawer about going for ‘mtumba camera’ which is as good as new.
He adds: “What people need to figure out is what suits them. For a short man, I wouldn’t recommend pin stripped suits, for the light skinned man, they should name wear brown suit. Colour coding is also important, once you figure out your body shape, size and colour, dressing is easy.”
For his daily dressing, Burale says “I combine both mtumba and shop clothes” and his full looks like this: trouser for Sh8, 000 from a shop, mtumba T-shirt for Sh800 and shoes for Sh15, 000 from a shop. Total cost Sh13, 800.
Burale explains that “good dressing is not about the cost of a garment, that why you find people who wear expensive things keep on name dropping the label because they know they are not looking good.”
Gospel musician Size 8 started out borrowing from her friend who had an auntie who frequented Dubai and “she would get clothes for me and one day when she showed her a video of me in the clothes, there were issues,” she recalls adding when money started rolling “Gikomba was my place to shop in my videos like Fire and Shamba Boy all those clothes were from Gikomba, when I got my first endorsement deal in 2012 that when I first shopped in a stall.”
“My look varies nowadays as I combine both second hand and shopping mall clothes, it all depends with the day” breaking her full day as follows: top Sh300, dress Sh700 and shoes Sh500. Total second hand look Sh1500.
Size 8 adds that to have a ‘shop look’ might cost more: boots for Sh4, 500, dress at Sh2, 200 and blazer at Sh3, 000 and she thus believes “you just have to know how to pair the clothes and always live on your lane, don’t spend house rent money because you want to look cool and shop in an expensive place.”