American-based Ceiphers Clothing may have its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, but its heart lives in both the US and in Kenya.
The clothing line, which produces an array of African-inspired creations and blends them with an American look was founded by Ceiphers Olweya.
Olweya, who spent his youth in Nairobi before relocating to the US intimates that the business makes bowties, chokers, ties, shirts and hats.
“My grandmother’s drive, generosity and interest in education has always motivated and awed me .I always knew that I wanted to be like her,” stated Olweya.
“Despite having no formal education, my grandmother started a business at a very young age. She started off selling food on the roadside and with time, bought a sewing machine and taught herself how to sew. After getting contracts to make school uniforms, she used her business as a platform to educate illiterate women, many of them went on to start their own businesses,” he said.
Olweya’s grandma Salome went ahead to co-found Nyaburi Integrated Primary School for children with disabilities.
According to Olweya, the aim of his business is to “educate provide financial assistance and promote understanding and appreciation of different cultures for markets in Kenya and the US.”
“I wanted to weave my heritage into the very fabric of the clothing I design, that’s why we use kitenge fabric in our designs”, he stated.
The company imports bright-coloured kitenge patterns directly from Kenya, with each piece of fabric design bearing its own Swahili name
“We name our fabrics in Swahili as a way of sharing the Kenyan culture through fashion,” says the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Olweya.