This is the first designer profile for Luxe Edit!
Cris Njoki is quickly becoming a household name in Kenya while also gaining international traction for her perfect designs. I got to sit down with her recently to gain further understanding of her person as a designer and influencer of the modern African fashion scene.
Njoki always had a passion for creating and fashion even from her early teenage years. At age 14, her father noticed her always stalled away playing with her mother’s dresses and altering them by hand. He then got her the perfect gift of a sewing machine. In her early adulthood, she did a short stint in business school never having considered fashion design to be a viable career. The calling was too strong though and it did not take long before she transitioned to fashion school in Nairobi, which she completed successfully within three years. Even before the launch of Ikojn (pronounced as ‘icon’ by the way) she ran a successful thrifting business. Armed with her experience in running a business, her in-borntalent and skills, Ikojn was launched two years ago.
So what really is the message that Njoki tries to relay in her designs? Well for one, Ikojn is about feeling and emotion. Before Njoki sits down to sketch or construct, she thinks about what she wants the wearer of her clothing to feel. Would they want to feel powerful? soft? demure? to stand out? All this relays quite well throughout her collections if you ask me!
A year ago when I discovered the brand, I was drawn in by the stunning color choices and unexpected fabrics incorporated. Of course I wanted to understand Njoki’s inspirations and muses for this. Her biggest inspiration is fabric. Obviously Cris interacts with a lot of fabric in her day to day life. It’s from these interactions that she’s able to envision her garments in ways you and I wouldn’t be able to do so easily. The female is also an inspiration for Njoki. She loves to create for women due to the versatility and adventurous nature of a woman.
Her take on the fashion scene in Kenya? First and foremost I think it should be applauded that Njoki always has the Kenyan woman in mind whenever she creates; She comes first as a consumer. Cris would like to encourage all other Kenyan and African designers to put their people first. Create brands that cater to the Kenyan people, that they can relate to instantaneously. She’s also keen on seeing a counsil rise up in Kenya that can help guide the fashion scene. Cosign!
Cris Njoki is such a warm spirit to be around and super talented. One of Africa’s fast risers and a big brand to watch out for!