VELMA "ROSSA" MAKHANDIA

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Velma Makhandia is a Nairobi-based trendsetter who slays on social media, and holds a successful monthly event: Thrift Social.


The city's chic residents, including fashion bloggers, expats, native Nairobians and pop stars bond over music, culture and cool clothes. Velma Rossa, as she is referred to on social media, and her brother, Oliver Asike, first gained fame three years ago for 2ManySiblings, their super successful style blog. These days they are Kenya's premier fashion entrepreneurs whose sartorial flair features a mix of local and international vintage finds, and the global fashion community is taking note.

For the first time last year, Thrift Social took place in the U.K., with the launch of Fashion Cities Africa, a book by Hannah Pool that featured the brother-sister duo. The event took place in Brighton, to coincide with the exhibition based on the book, which celebrates contemporary fashion in four African cities: Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

To date, Makhandia has featured in U.S. Vogue, Vogue Italia, Elle South Africa and modeled for Karen Walker's eyewear. She also did an Ichyulu x 2ManySiblings collaboration. Velma is proof that you don't have to look like everyone else to be an “It" girl—her authenticity lies in finding inspiration in her hometown and challenging her peers to accept themselves even if everyone else may not get it yet.

-JO

Popular