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Student with flair for beaded designs

Evans Saitoti, a student at the University of Nairobi, has already found success in fashion with his unique business, Snave Kollections.

“I launched Snave Kollections in 2011. Snave is my name Evans spelled backwards,” he said.

After completing high school, Evans started designing and making beaded bracelets for his friends during his free time. When he joined university, people loved his bracelets and asked him to make some for them.

Seeing it as an opportunity to make pocket money, he immediately arranged to get materials from Narok, his hometown, since he did not know where to get them in Nairobi.

“When I started, my focus was Maasai beaded accessories. But since most customers wanted them to match their clothes, I seized the opportunity and started designing clothes as well,” said the commerce student.

The first dress he designed was for his younger sister – a simple maxi with a kitenge bodice and flowing chiffon skirt and beaded cowl neckline. His gamble paid off as she loved it.

“When I started, I would come up with a design and then take it to a tailor to stitch for me but with time I also learnt how to sew.

When I am not busy I sew but in most instances I let tailors do the work as I concentrate on designing,” said Evans who owes his sewing skills to Evelyn Atieno who runs a workshop in Kawangware.

He also started embellishing old clothes to give them a new look. He uses fabric especially kanga, kitenge and Maasai blankets and sometimes Maasai beads to give an old jacket or pair of jeans a fresh look.

Most of his customers are women. His most memorable collection was Vintage 23 which he did last year.

“Twenty three is my lucky number. I decided to celebrate my birthday by infusing my years with a collection,” he explained.

Keeping to the number, he made 23 garments using kitenge, leather, denim and Maasai shukas.

Evans markets his designs online through his website; and Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and Tumblr.

Although he has found that selling online is the best option, it has its own challenges.

“Since my business is online it’s hard to access a bank loan. This has greatly impacted on my business since I cannot take big orders,” he said.

He is currently working on reintroducing handcrafted accessories and hopes to launch the new collection before May.