Africa, along with the rest of the developing world, is the final frontier of fashion. Within 10 years it will account for a quarter of luxury goods sales. Apart from that, Africa is entering its golden age of fashion that sees indigenous designers embracing their culture and producing globally recognised couture. With giants like Louis Vuitton borrowing from African traditions, it is clear that Africa is on the road to a fashion renaissance and Velma Rossa and Papa Petit, the brother-sister duo behind 2ManySiblings, are pushing the culture towards this inevitable end.
Words: Tshiamo Seape
A personal style and fashion blog at its inception, 2ManySiblings has transformed into a-one-of-a-kind brand that represents the future of Kenyan style, through pushing collaborative endeavours between the siblings and various Kenyan creatives who have come together to create a platform for expression.
The thrift stores and vintage markets of their youth were spaces that sparked their imaginations and set in motion a love affair with fashion and culture that would last a lifetime. And this is exactly why they are trying (and succeeded in creating). Soon after launching 2ManySiblings as a blog, and subsequently an Instagram page, the duo launched The Thrift Social.
The aim of the monthly event is to create a platform for young creative entrepreneurs to showcase their talent through fashion, music, and art and is described as a “physical celebration of art and wearable things”. The city’s most interesting looks are on display – elaborate headdresses and tin foil dresses are just some of the inspired looks at this hot ticket event. The Thrift Social is not only for consumption as attendees are encouraged to bring second-hand clothes that are donated to charities in Nairobi – the perfect collaboration between community and commerce.
The duo’s influence should not be understated. The Thrift Social is more of a social innovation than a social event. They are literally curating the future of the creative scene in Nairobi, and the world is taking note.
In collaboration with Fashion Cities Africa – a book exploring contemporary African fashion in four cities (Casablanca. Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg) – which as part of an exhibition at the Brighton Museum in the UK, has invited The Thrift Social for a celebration of the next generation of Kenyan creatives. Fashion Cities Africa is the brain child of British-Eritrean author Hannah Pool, who after years of being disgruntled with European designers, and their reference to “African influences” (ignoring the rich diversity found within countries let alone the continent as a whole) took them to task in a searing op-ed in The Guardian, that would go on to form the inspiration for Fashion Cities Africa.– “We decided to look at cities to break away from this notion that African fashion is a monolithic single entity”, she told trueafrica.com.
Aside from The Thrift Social, Velma keeps herself busy as stylist and model. Having worked with New Zealand based Eyewear Company, Karen Walker, and the duo featured in the launch campaign for online fashion retailer Ichyulu. The collaborations don’t stop there. Over the course of their short but impressive careers, the duo has managed to work with Petit Noir and Rha Rha Nembhard. Petit Noir brought down the house as the headlining DJ act the 10th edition of the Thrift Social. Proving once and for all that 2ManySiblings has the taste and global impact of a much more established brand.
The other half of the sibling duo, Papa Petit, is no slouch either. Papa Petit spends his time as a stylist as well and has been featured on prominent Kenyan musicians like Sauti Sol. He describes his personal style as “dandy punk” with denim jackets, vintage leather, and Doc Martens making up the staple pieces of his wardrobe. Regular visits to Maasai markets add a touch of the traditional to his already eclectic wardrobe. “Fashion is a medium of self-expression and should depict your personality in the terms of visual information. It’s about wearing what you feel on the inside, outside”, said Papa.
The duo is creating an empire from their passion, and the world is responding in kind. With an ever evolving brand and high profile fans and collaborators, the sky’s the limit for 2ManySiblings.
Follow the duo on Instagram