Style

Meet Nairobi's Young Instagram Muses

Get to know 5 trendsetting Instagram models making waves in Nairobi’s art scene.

From music to visual art, Nairobi’s youth are utilizing the internet as a means to express themselves and share their creativity.


In addition to the innovative music producers, there’s an upcoming breed of trendsetting Instagram models making waves in Nairobi’s art scene.

While many people use Instagram to snap pictures of themselves and their surroundings, these models post a selection of pictures aimed at banishing a lot of stereotypes regarding gender and fashion.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, to these Kenyan Instagrammers it’s definitely worth a lot of likes.

Randy Gowon

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As a gender-fluid model, Randy Gowon believes that self-expression is an essential part of fashion. According to him, millennials are becoming more accepting of gender-fluid styles and are open to the idea of exploring different sectors of fashion that aren't restricted by gender or age.

Randy decided to explore these concepts using his Instagram account, which features some inspired androgynous looks. Even though he's one of the few taking this approach, he's excited to see how it'll grow within the local creative scene.

Alexis Nereah

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When Alexis posts, you can't just scroll past. The popular Instagrammer describes her account as "a visual journey expressing feeling, color, clothing and self."

She regularly works with other young visual artists to produce the content on her account. The stunning pictures command your attention with their unique art direction and her edgy fashion sense. With each graceful pose, she screams out 'black is beautiful.' We can’t get enough of it.

Afro-Minimalist

Afro-Minimalist started off on Instagram just like everyone else, but later realized that he could use the app to showcase his talents and start building a portfolio.

He uses his account to reach out to as many people as possible and share his “urban minimalistic” style. Afro-Minimalist also aims to clear out the cliché that African style must include African prints and he thinks that Instagram is the best platform to do so.

Adrian Kumlii

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Adrian Kumlii already has a number of people creating social media accounts using his pictures. That’s what happens when you’re kind of a big deal.

“My Instagram aesthetic? Modern day vintage rock star,” he says. His minimalist approach and strong sense of identity give his posts an alluring aura of effortlessness. Despite being initially oblivious to his online influence, he's now inspired everyday by the positive feedback he receives from his ever-growing followers.

Vivi Karia

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Vivi Karia is a Nairobi-based stylist and fashion designer who shows off her interesting taste in street wear on her account. Locally, she's admired for being an individual who pushes the boundaries of what it’s like to dress every day in Nairobi.

The young creative uses her online presence to demonstrate that fashion is a lifestyle and that one doesn’t need a lot of money to look great. With all of this she aims to create a bridge between Nairobi and the international fashion brands that she admires.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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