Kenyan Fashion Stylist and Blogger Shares her Berlin Experience

Mercedes-Benz-Fashion-Week-Berlin-Nancy Mwai at AFDB
Nancy Mwai at the African Fashion Day in Berlin

You might know her, or you might have heard of her. Nancy Mwai, she’s an entrepreneur, fashion stylist and a blogger from Kenya, she’s been featured in many newspapers and magazines in Kenya and was recently named one of the world’s top 13 fashion blogger by the American Lucky Magazine. She was part of the recent African Fashion Week in Berlin, an invite only event whose patron in Auma Obama 😉

Anyhu, it’s always great to hear people talk of their experience in Germany especially visitors or people here for the first time. Simply because they tend to see things we’ve already gotten used to or take for granted. So here is her humorous recollection of the time she spent in Berlin, courtesy of her blog.

I’m in Germany! I’m in Berlin! I’m so excited guys. I’m here for Berlin Fashion week 2013. I arrived on Saturday morning around 11 am. I left Nairobi on Friday 28th June at midnight for Amsterdam and took a connecting flight to Berlin.

First of all I am grateful and blessed to be here I’ve been invited by the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, Inpolis, for Berlin Fashion Week. I’m not alone I’m with other 12 wonderful people from Africa that I’ll talk about in another post.

This is a learning experience for me as well as networking and getting to connect with people in Berlin that are involved in the fashion industry and also with the other guys who have been invited from other Africa Countries. The last two days I’ve had so much fun!

I’m going to go emotional on you guys. When I received an email that I was invited for Berlin Fashion week, I didn’t believe it at all! Yes I was excited but I didn’t believe it. I kept on telling my friends I’ll believe it when I get there.

I haven’t traveled outside Kenya and it’s been a dream of mine to travel to a fashion week anywhere in the world even in Africa! At the airport I still couldn’t believe this was happening to me, well when the plane took off…I literally cried…I was like “oooh snap, this sh*t just got real”

Now more than ever I believe that dreams do come true. It’s one thing to believe in your self and its a major thing for someone in a far of country to believe in you and give you an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m truly grateful.

It was an 8 hour flight to Amsterdam then I took a connecting flight to Berlin, which is only an hour. In the last two days I’ve experienced so much, gotten culture shock but what I enjoy the most is the long days! It gets dark at 10 pm and the sun rises at 4:30 am! Very cool. I’m staying at the beautiful Hotel Angleterre in Berlin, Friedrichstraße.

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Well I have a full week but I wont miss a day of blogging! Today I’m attending the Africa Fashion Day Berlin.

On July 2nd 2013 I attended the Africa Fashion Day Berlin press conference in the morning and then later on in the evening I attended the shows at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin tents. The designers showcasing were Nadir Tati, Arrey Kono ad Romero Bryan.

Africa Fashion Day Berlin was introducing to us Dr. Auma Obama as the new patron of AFDB. This was a major experience for me and I got to meet people I never thought I’d meet and actually attend a fashion show at the tents.

Beatrice Oola is the founder of Africa Fashion Day Berlin and she is doing a good job. It was a big opportunity to get to interact with her and hear what her visions are for the brand.

The fashion show was well produced. It was amazing to see the scale of things as opposed to what I’m used to here in Kenya. The tent we were in was the main tent and it has a capacity of 700 people sitting and 60 standing.

The backstage was phenomenal and there is a lounge behind the backstage. Something I also loved was the press room. There was one everywhere I went, that is the fashion show and the trade shows. This is where the press can sit with their laptops and use the wifi provided to do their work.

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This is my last post on my Berlin trip. First of all, I want to thank everyone who made it possible for that trip to happen, Beatrice Oola of Africa Fashion Day Berlin, Biki John the Africa Fashion Day Berlin Head Stylist  and the Federal Foreign Office in Germany.

The one thing I love about Berlin is that you could take photos anywhere, in front of a police station, in town, in front of the courts, in front of parliament and any other place you want. I’ve been stopped a couple of times taking photos in Nairobi, it’s illegal not unless you get a permit. It’s also illegal to take photos in certain malls in the country. Sigh!

I enjoyed shopping in Berlin, truly an amazing experience though I suffered some culture shock when I entered Zara and H&M especially Zara. First of all the store was untidy I was like our stores are so neat, everything in its place…then I quickly realized that it’s sale season and the store was packed with people shopping. Another shocker was, you can go shopping with your puppy or dog, so cool. The first day I shopped there were no shoes my size, they were sold out. The sales were amazing though, especially because the stuff on sale was spring/summer 2013 pieces.

The business of fashion was also a major highlight for me. From the sales happening at the malls and stores, to the trade shows, to the seriousness of fashion week. There is more to just doing or having a fashion show its about also communicating a story with the pieces and also being able to sell the pieces. I learnt so much on the trip and got so inspired. I am thankful for the opportunity.

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African Fashion Day Berlin is a unique communication platform that represents the high-end lifestyle segment of the fashion scene from from Africa and the African diaspora in Germany. They bring fashion on the catwalk that is modern and cosmopolitan. The designers are inspired by their individual visions as well as global trends from across the world.

Beatrace Angut Oola is the founder of Africa Fashion Day Berlin, says: “For us it is important to introduce a new perspective to the prevailing fashion landscape in Germany. The young and modern African fashion scene is without any doubt an enrichment to the Berlin Fashion Week.”

Africa Fashion Day Berlin showcases international designers from Africa and the African diaspora.

This season AFDB will be on 2nd July at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2013. The runway show presents the collection of British-Jamaican fashion designer Romero Bryan who worked together with celebrities such as Destiny’ Child, Samantha Mumba and Alicia Keys.

The other designer on board is Arrey Kono from Cameroon, renowned for the impeccable sense of style of her designs and enjoys equal popularity with media and customers. Lastly is Angolan designer Nadir Tati, winner of the the ‘Best Designer of the Year’ Award of the Angolan fashion event Moda Luanda for three consecutive years.

You can visit her blog at: Nancy Mwai’s Blog

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