The Kenyan fashion industry is growing everyday, and the organizers of some of the biggest fashion events in East and Central Africa are equally keeping up. Nairobi played host to the 4th Edition of the East Africa International Fashion Week on 22nd October 2022, and some of the biggest creatives in the region showed up to compete for the ultimate prize.

Fotophreak Magazine, caught p with the lead organizer of this event, the beautiful Ms. Eleshia Ais, and here is everything she had to say about her vision for the event and her perspective on the larger fashion market in East and Central Africa.
1. Fotophreak: Who is Eleshia Ais?
Am believer, Friend, Sister Former Miss kenya intercontinental , International Fashion Model, Author,  just published my first book ,Cosmetologist with my makeup line Reines Palace Cosmetic.

When did you begin your journey in the fashion industry, and how was the East Africa International Fashion Week born ? – I joined modeling industry in the year 2017 and it wasn’t easy at all to get modeling jobs, after so many rejection i promised myself that one day i will do my own event and give chances to models with and without experience . Let’s be honest ; everyone is looking for experienced model but few are willing to give them chance to gain that experience.

During my modeling career i came across so many talented and creative fashion designers who are not known, this pushed me even harder to start my event, East Africa International Fashion Week was born in 2019, cant speak for myself how many models and designers it have empowered but i thank God everyday for this chance .

2. Fotophreak: What was the theme of the East Africa International Fashion Week this year, and what was the inspiration behind it ?
This year we focused on Elegancy, Creativity and Africa presentation. What inspired me this year was last years event , the designers competitive creativity which made me to add an award, they all won but for the top 3 outstanding ones. It was a way of us recognizing and appreciating their talents.

3. Fotophreak: Who are the designers who showcased at the event this year and their nationalities?
A. Adon Sensation
B. Wuod Nyatanga Collections
C. Afri Star Collections
D. Bibi King Fashions
E. Walaya Designs
F. Joyshine Creations
G. Felly’s Fashion Hub
H. Alphas Fashion Designs

4. Fotophreak: What was done differently this year, that is unique from the 3 previous editions?
This year’s Creativity was just breath taking, i have no words that can describe how amazing it was just to witness how talented East African Designers are.

5. Fotophreak: How was the attendance at this year’s event, and what how has been the trend for the last 3 editions?
Attendance was good it made me happy to see that the numbers increases every year, i thank God.

6. Fotophreak: Have you always been hosting the event in Kenya, and do you have plans of taking it to a different country in future editions? What country would that be and why ?
For the past 4 years we have only hosted it in kenya but next year by God’s grace we are planning to host it in Uganda or Tanzania.

7. Fotophreak: What is the secret behind hosting a successful high fashion event ?
Marketing is very important part, location and most of all prayer.

8. Fotophreak: How would you rate the fashion industry in Kenya, and what do you think needs to be done to improve the industry?
No comment on rating part. I think government should notice us, especially fashion designers, we have so many talented designers unnoticed in kenya, it shouldn’t be about location and connection. It’s my hope and prayer that one day that will happen.

9. Fotophreak: What makes fashion in Europe and America so different from Africa ? Why is it taking Africa so long to catch up with the big boys?
Just as I said before if the government does not recognize fashion industry it becomes very hard, i believe African Designers and models are as much or more talented and capable.

Models showcasing designs at the East Africa International Fashion Week
Models showcasing designs at the East Africa International Fashion Week

10. Fotophreak: Many Kenyan brands are increasingly taking to advertising to promote their products. What do you think is the contribution of fashion and models in these ads, and how is the progress so far ?
Well this is according to me and my experience models play very important key to all the ads, i can say with this models get more jobs, i just hope they give chances to those who are looking for experience too not only experienced ones.

11. Fotophreak: What advice would you give to young people in East Africa who are looking to join the fashion industry? Where should they begin, and which are the most rewarding professions in the industry?
It all starts with you always, what are you looking for, why are you Choosing this industry, what are your goals. Personally being runway model(high_fashion ) been of more success to me than commercial and pageantry, when i talk of benefits i dont mean image but something that can pay my bills. This however does not mean that it will be the same to anyone else, so whatever you choose to be just believe in yourself and never give up. Keep this in mind any job or opportunity that needs you to do something inappropriate to get is not worth it, loving yourself means respecting yourself, never forget to put God first.

12. Fotophreak: What expectations should fashion lovers have for the next and future editions of the East Africa International Fashion Week? And how can they stay updated with event details?
East Africa International Fashion Week is here to give platform to any designer and we recognize you and your talent, if you visit our social media pages (instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Ticktok) you will see that all we do is recognize and market designers we have worked with and that will continue.

13. Fotophreak: Your final word ? Your fans and the larger fashion audience is listening, Ms. Eleshia?
To anyone who feels or think he/she is not good enough you are wrong, you are perfectly good enough all you need is one step forward, believe in you that’s something no one can to for you. I appreciate all my fans, friends and family for your support and encouragement, let’s support each other and grow together .

Leave your comments and feedback about the East Africa Fashion Week in the section down below. Ms. Eleshia Ais and the entire organizing team of this event will be happy to sample and take in your recommendations for upcoming events.



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