As long as there are beautiful ladies being born, there will always be a need for good fashion design the world over. In their contribution towards this, Equity bank has been running an online contest called Vijana Na Equity – a challenge where upcoming fashion designers submitted their work to appear before a panel of judges who then picked the finalists. The winner of the competition, Anold Muriithi, was crowned on Saturday 28th February and walked away with Kshs.150,000/- as well as an all expenses ticket to attend this year’s Hub of Africa Fashion Week which will be in Ethiopia.
There were 195 entrants in the online contest, from whom the 40 finalists were picked by five judges from the fashion industry. The five judges were: Sally Karago, Chairlady of the Association of Fashion Designers of Kenya and the managing director of Mcensal Fashion House; Diana Opoti a fashion media professional, avid blogger, founder and executive producer of the television series Designing Africa; Katungulu Mwendwa a young, enthusiastic Kenyan fashion designer; Franklin Saiyalel a fashion blogger based in Nairobi and Linda Muriithi managing director of In the Bag – a company that organized two editions of a Fashion Week in Ethiopia.
The 40 finalists also got to benefit from a financial literacy course – a 30 hour comprehensive financial training program that is designed for players in the creative sector. This financial literacy course will be crucial in preparing them to enter and be able to navigate the business world, and to prepare them to build their careers in the very lucrative fashion industry. According to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the Kenyan fashion and apparel retain market is worth an estimated US$330m per year. It is into this pool that the upcoming designers are ready to get into and make their mark.
There were other prizes in the contest as well. For example, promising contestants will be considered for internships in some of Nairobi’s leading fashion houses.
Just about everyone who has made it to the top in business and career has needed some help in one way or other – not just when starting out but even when they’re up there at the top. This help could range from something as simple as an encouraging word from a loved one, to something more structured like deliberate mentoring, monitoring and financing. With continued demand for improvements in different areas of daily life, brilliant ideas are coming up left right and center. It is laudable that we have initiatives such as Vijana na Equity; Design your destiny’.