ökoRAUSCH Festival 2020 | Winner in the category of “start-ups”
Fashion from Kibera to the world!
Have you ever heard of Kibera? Located to the south of downtown Nairobi, it is one of the largest informal settlements on the African continent. Starting up a fashion label there is…unbelievable! And David Avido (24), born and raised in Kibera, did just that. Today he is dressing world famous musicians and this year he began selling his fashion in Europe. His story inspires young people from his neighbourhood and people all over the world. lookslike avido proves that anything is possible if you are focused and have faith in your own strengths.
“It always bothered me that I was reduced to where I came from,” says Avido. He always hears people say that people from Kibera are poor, criminals and addicted to drugs. “Those are all real problems. But with my fashion I want to show people that there is much more to Kibera than just that. There is huge creative potential here! I want to inspire people and help my people feel proud of their neighbourhood.” Avido has spoken in front of thousands of youth in Kenia, and international reggae and dancehall artists are wearing lookslike avido pieces.
Cologne: A bridge to Europe
Avido visited Germany for the first time in July 2019. We had met prior to that in Nairobi. I was there on business and now organise European sales out of Cologne: Neonyt at the Berlin Fahion Week, Summerjam music festival, and a number of his own events were all a big success: We learned a lot, had a lot of people make orders with us, and we told Avido’s story. Even Wolfgang Joop took an interest in Avido and we are eagerly awaiting his call… It was a very exciting experience to speak to people about fashion from Kibera, it was the most direct form of feedback we could get. At the same, seeing the innovative approaches and technical possibilities of recycling and circular fashion made a lasting impression on us.
Social and ecological sustainability
The label lookslike avido produces its pieces in Kibera and joined the formal sector of its own accord, which is a big step for a company operating in a context in which most small and medium sized companies remain in the informal sector. A group of 10 seamstresses are always ready to produce pieces on an order basis for fair wages. There are currently six work stations in Avido’s Atelier. As the number of orders grows, employment positions will be created that are subject to social insurance. The biggest challenge is the issue of sourcing and localisation. Many of the local companies in East Africa that provide raw material for textiles are not large enough to guarantee consistent quality of their material. Others already have fixed business partners. Furthermore, there is rarely information about the origin or production standards of the material available at the markets. The label is currently negotiating with a number of local producers in East Africa, as well as exploring how upcycling elements could be integrated into some of the products. The upcoming collection already has the first of such pieces. During the trip to Germany, the label came up with even more ideas for new and more sustainable designs.
We are excited to see what the next year will bring and we look forward to the opportunity to present lookslike avido at the ökoRAUSCH Festival in the summer of 2020!
Photographer: Eric Greven
In October of 2019, our community voted on who should be placed in the first two exhibition spaces in the MAKK in 2020. From a pool of six projects, three founders and three students could be voted for online. The fashion label lookslike avido won the “start-ups” category.
The voting was supported by the City of Cologne and CREATIVE.NRW.