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Neka Malone ready for Fire on the Runway fashion show

Born in the USA, Neka Malone developed the love for fashion as a young girl.

After attending several fashion shows in Texas, she felt she wanted to make an impact on people’s lives as well in the fashion industry.

She hosted a number of successful shows in the US before relocating to Africa with her focus on Kenya’s capital Nairobi with her debut looming at the Fire on the Runway fashion in August of 2021.

She speaks to Nairobi News and shares her journey and future plans on Fashion post the pandemic.

Tell us about Fire on the Runway (FOTR).

Fire on the Runway started in 2015 in Dallas Texas hosted our first show in January of 2016 in Dallas Texas. Our show highlighted domestic violence and we partnered with a non-profit organization to bring more awareness about the efforts of the organization.

We also had a hair battle with two different hair stylists. From this success, I felt it was time to come back home and be able to showcase what the African continent has to offer.

What is your take on fashion with a focus on Africa?

Africa is such a beautiful place to be and the vivid colours and creativity are breathtaking. We need more exposure, I feel over the past few years more people are getting recognized for their gifts and talents.

Why do you think could be the reason that many African designers are finding it difficult or are having difficulties in penetrating the international market?

Truthfully it’s a matter of changing the mindset and willingness to try different styles and fabrics. Many designers must learn that international platforms operate differently, for example, being able to meet deadlines and being punctual is key. Networking with the correct people is also very important.

What do you think is the future of fashion as an entrepreneur in the industry especially in the wake of Covid-19?

It’s a great time to learn marketing and having an online store. People will always love fashion even if it is just to get dressed up and take photos for their Instagram followers. It is a great time to expand your business and be more visible online with a great marketing strategy. We also see lots of virtual shows which mean fashion will forever live.

Why Kenya?

I saw the creativity that was hidden. I decided to come and use this opportunity to highlight the fashionable fashion world of Kenya. I was also very impressed with the models many of them can model on an international level with the right agency and coaching.

Any advice for African designers?

Learn how to network and be willing to design things outside of the normal. Online is key. We are in a time where people shop online all the time. Make sure you learn marketing. There are free videos on YouTube. Study designs from all over. Most importantly believe in yourself.