How designer has his Gjoe working
Gjoe Boseph (George Boseph Kairuki) shot into fashion during a festival in Eldoret in 2013.
He was discovered at the Festival of African Fashion and Arts (Fafa) competition as the organisers searched for designers and models.
Gjoe’s contemporary designs became part of the runway show in Nairobi with other emerging designers.
“It was an event full of excitement. The reception was great because they loved my work. I got the attention of famous people in the industry such as Pinky Ghelani. She showed a lot of interest in one of my pieces,” he said.
He has worked with Jamil Walji, the first Fafa Insight winner.
At the competition Gjoe showed a five-look collection with lots of prints and cool colours; some made with a mixture of linen and kikoi.
He has always been interested in fashion. Designing, making and wearing his own designs got the attention of people who started asking him to make clothes for them as well.
He started out with friends and family until early 2012 when became professional. He is keen on the latest fashion trends and how to harmonise them to work in his favour.
Settling on the name was not hard. When he was still young, he played around with his first name to come up with Gjoe.
“Majority of people know me by this name. I wanted to brand my line with a name that everybody was already familiar with,” he said.
Having found a footing in Nairobi, his plan is to open another shop and workshop similar to the one he runs in Eldoret. You can see his current collection on his Facebook page GJOESwear.
“Eldoret does not have the kind of people I’m looking for. I have attended several fashion shows and exhibitions here and managed to change a few things to satisfy market expectations and demands,” he said.
His target age is between 18 and 37. He said older people tend to be conservative and specific unlike youths who are swayed by trends.
The rapid change is also a great challenge to his business. “Since one does not have the right ability to dictate, then you have to at least foretell what is expected.
Sometimes it could be a win-win or a bad gamble which would leave you neck deep in dead stock far too long,” he said.
He spends most of his time sketching and coming up with new ideas. He said he knows that his fashion knowledge is good especially when one is an industry in which styles can be obsolete if he does not keep up.
He now looks forward to expanding his knowledge by going to a fashion school.
“My brand style is contemporary. I really don’t focus on one aspect. What I try to do is come up with designs that would transition between different age brackets without creating an imbalance of taste. I try not to focus too much on the African print because I believe it has been overdone by others. However, I may include small aspects onto a garment just to maintain the African culture especially if I am working on a theme,” he said.
His latest collection is based on monochromatic and colour blocking which he showed at the Strut It Africa Fashion Week 2013.
It was a collection that featured lots of colours before its transition into monochrome. “There was office and funky street wear. In a nutshell, you would not lack a piece for any given event or function,” he said.
He is currently working on his latest collection which he said is inspired by traditional Japanese wear.