We caught up with 2manysiblings' Papa Petit and Velma Rossa ahead of their Thrift Social style event in Nairobi.
Papa Petit and Velma Rossa are the Kenyan brother and sister “style entrepreneurs” that make up the colorful creative duo known as 2manysiblings. On Sunday, we’re teaming up with the siblings to present Nairobi’s third-ever Thrift Social, a unique, all-day style event in which attendees can shop with some of the city’s most cutting-edge fashion vendors while giving back to the local community by bringing clothing and shoes to be donated to the Jacaranda School for the mentally handicapped.
Ahead of Sunday’s event, we caught up with Papa and Velma to learn more about their Thrift Social initiative.
What exactly is a thrift social?
Papa Petit: “Thrift Social” is a platform to promote young creative entrepreneurs. At the same time, we want to encourage the youth to give back to the community by donating to the less fortunate.
What prompted you to start organizing Thrift Socials?
Papa Petit: We’ve always enjoyed the idea of putting things that we like together. The way we thrift for clothes, looking for gems, is the same way we put the event together. Everyone involved in the event—designers, DJs, food vendors and photographers—are all gems and people who inspire us, so having them in one place collaborating is really fun.
Why did you want to partner with the Jacaranda School?
Papa Petit: I did my university community service at Jacaranda School. During my time there, I was so moved and inspired by the young people. Even though they are mentally challenged, they are always jovial and welcoming. They also make cool jewellery and we just decided to work with them. They are the biggest example of the notion that disability is not inability.
What should people expect to see on Sunday?
Velma Rossa: Mystery sells yo, so we won't be disclosing much, haha, but just come expecting lots of dope creative activity from Nairobi.
How should attendees prepare for Sunday?
Papa Petit: Tell a friend to tell a friend. Choose your best outfit as management reserves the right of admission, haha. Do not leave your cool at home!
Since we last caught up after your photo shoot with Yasiin Bey, what has 2ms been up to?
Velma Rossa: We have been involved in a lot of firsts. The most memorable being our invitation to the African Futures festival panel where we discussed our views on the subjects of Afrofuturism vs African futures, so that was quite something. It was a bit daunting at first because we were a bit clueless about the Afrofuturism theme. So, definitely a learning experience.
Papa Petit: We are also part of an African Cities Fashion exhibition that will launch sometime next year in Brighton Museum, UK. We are looking forward to that—really excited to see works by artists from Morocco, Lagos and Johannesburg!
What's Nairobi's style scene like? Are there any trends that are particularly in right now?
Velma Rossa: Hmmm. I am not particularly attuned to style trends and it's a bit tricky to generalize what the style scene is like in Nairobi as there are so many style tribes—thrift vintage, glitzy glam, skateboarders—with different dress aesthetics. And then there are just individuals who march to their own tune. This question is a lost cause, haha.
Is there a thrift scene in Nairobi? Where's your favorite place to go thrifting?
Velma Rossa: Thrift industry in Nairobi is huuuuuuge and aspirational as high end labels are made accessible and for cheap! It also acts as a huge source of revenue for the chain of people involved in the thrift business. We like to go to the Gikomba market as it's one of the biggest in Nairobi. Gikomba can be a bit intense, but for us, that's the beauty of it. Sort of like an adventurous treasure hunt and it's a must do for any visiting thrift lover.