Global luxury designers tend to be surprised that Kenyans have what it takes to design and produce quality luxury fashion goods. While there still are opportunities that need to be explored by the Kenyan government in upgrading exports, production, marketing and branding of leather products, it hasn’t stopped enterprising individuals from leaving their mark in the industry.
Two culturally diverse designers came together and created the Kenyan brand Ocell Luxury. The name “Ocell” is derived from the Catalan term for “birds” and symbolizes a sense of freedom and living a bold lifestyle. The brand, that was founded in 2015, sources all leather materials from Kenya and specializes in making patterned accessories and a small range of high-end leather products.
“When designing, I get a lot of inspiration from the beautiful colors of bird feathers, their tones and the different variations of feathers. This is what guides the design, finding a fabric that pops and crafting a bag or wallet that corresponds with that fabric (bright and bold on the inside and simple on the outside),” Ocell Luxury co-founder Pooja Joshi describes her thought process when designing products. “My favorite parts are the initial sketches and of course seeing the final design come to life.”
Ocell Luxury draws motivation from top brands such as Ghurka – for their quality of leather work and craft and Liberty London – for their beautiful bold fabrics.
Ms. Joshi encourages Kenyans to shop local, while at the same time appealing to the government to make lending easier especially for smaller brands. She suggests giving longer payback plans as “No young business generates substantial profits in the early stages.”
View more looks from the Ocell Luxury Instagram page: