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January 18, 2019

Book Review: Not African Enough: A Fashion Book By the Nest Collective

"Not African Enough" cover
"Not African Enough" cover

The Nest Collective is inarguably the most innovative group in East Africa. They have been on the forefront of releasing exquisite masterworks in film and artistry. Well, its members are multidisciplinary artists, who possess superlative skills, brought together by the will to create and conceptualise inconceivable ideas.

This year, they’ve gifted the world with a fashion book that shows off the bold and unique styles expressed by various fashion makers and style icons. It is a book that stresses the fact that it is important to have a conversation about Kenyan designers whose works of style are not considered African.

 Someone steeped in the idea of the usual wax print may find some of the presentations in the book to be quite foreign. Well, the book's creative director, Sunny Dolat, believes that fashion is a form of communication and self-identity and that the book opens us to a world of eccentric designers and photographers not confined to tradition. 

Indeed, the main message in the book, Not African Enough: A Fashion Book By The Nest Collective is quite thought-provoking: that fashion in the African space is diverse, highly individual or nuanced. This explains the collective's intentional move to pick certain designers and models to feature, showcasing individualistic and non-conformist mindsets.

The book is a mix of pictorial aesthetics and easily digestible paragraphs that detail the creative director’s picks. In the very first few pages, it highlights the quest for the Kenyan national dress that happened between 2003 and 2005, and how that turned out.

Each chapter is illustrated with selected pieces that showcase works from 14 spectacular designers. The featured designers include Adele Dejak, Wambui Kibue, Anyango Mpinga, Ami Doshi Sha, Ambica Shah, Katungulu Mwendwa, Munga, Kepha Maina, Ogake Mosomi, Namnyak Odupoy, Firyal Nur Al Hossain, Wambui Mukenyi and Muqaddam Latif & Keith Macharia (M+K).

Featured in the conceptual pictures are some of Kenya’s biggest models and personalities including Randy Gowon, Gabu Fords, Anjili Laura, Sarah Hassan, Jo Kisila, Nelvin Chuma and Shanelle Nyasisae among others. These individuals manage to bring out the most iconic aspects of the works featured in the book.

There’s keen conceptualisation throughout the book as is presented by the selected pictures. Photographers such as Sarah Waiswa, Joseph “Nabster” Chege, Maganga Mwagogo and Thandiwe Muriu were commissioned to capture the models donning the awe-inspiring creations.

The book does not fall short of intrigues and as you flip through the pages you are presented with rare brilliance and some of the most artistic designs ever thought of. The collective goes ahead to leave the buyer with the option to pick from two well-done cover editions that give a clear idea of what to expect once you open the book.

The book is available on the Nest Collective's website for Ksh. 5,000 only.


Star rating: 5 out of 5

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