If you haven’t gotten the chance to meet Vivi Karia, no need to worry as I have you covered. She is outright outstanding with her thoughts, vision, design and execution. Vivi Karia is pretty much the closest you will ever get to Rihanna in Nairobi. We discussed how she views fashion in Nairobi, her clothing brand and more.
1. Wild Intro
I’ll be 23 this year. Though hard to describe my skill, I majorly took interest in drawing stick figures when I was 8, but now I’ve moved on to doodling. My dad inspired me and I became more conscious about fashion and style when I turned 13, this is when I paid more attention to what people wore in music videos & teen shows.
2. What has inspired your aesthetic as both a curator and designer?
Street style inspires me because there are no rules on how to dress, there’s an openness and rawness where you can always play with whatever comes to mind so I like to combine it with high fashion.
3. Do you view your brand as rebellious considering that it depicts a sensual aspect?
Not really, maybe other people do, but I’m very open minded & like to talk about things that are not so polite, especially through images.
Do you feel the need to be relatable?
Yes, as a person outside the clothes that I make. I’m always worried that people don’t understand where I’m coming from. Because if you have that sexual vibe people don’t view it as art but box you & sexualize you like “She’d be so good to take to bed”.
Such things annoy me! Greek goddesses had their bosoms hanging out & were given the utmost respect…
4. Does consumer reaction pressure you to release more products?
No, I like pushing my products beyond boundaries in terms of reach & sales too and generally, I take my time when I release a product because I want to perfect it.
And what is the downside of production?
The fear that you’ll put all your money into an idea & have it not come out as you pictured it or poor reception from consumers.
5. With the new wave of designers, have you considered being more intricate to define your brand?
Yes & No. Yes because I like standing out & also the more intricate I am with my ideas the more it is for guys to copy.
I know I’m unique and I don’t think anyone would share the same vision.
What do you consider when choosing an individual to head a new campaign/collection?
I look for intricate physiques, weird looking people & those that are comfortable with themselves.
6.What are you currently working on?
It’s a secret! But I will drop new patches soon & an art book too.
7. Does the term creative have any significance to you and why?
No, I don’t appreciate the terms designer, creative, artist, as there’s a huge saturation in Nairobi. I like to do my thing & if you are feeling it then that’s great.
I low key call myself a” constructor ” instead because I view myself as someone who makes things.
8. What is your biggest disappointment in Nairobi fashion and what are you doing about it?
First the hype! People wear Supreme t-shirts & ripped jeans & feel like they are entitled or that they are influencers. That’s not what street style is about! Second, it’s the oversaturation of the idea of blogging, if you combine these two, its just bad!
It’s hard to do something impactful about it, partly because, we are still a young city when it comes to streetwear but I always try to stir such conversations when I’m with my friends.
9. Thoughts on high fashion and streetwear collaborations.
Best one so far
The Louis Vuitton X Supreme collection hands down! People expected a crazy collabo but these are the biggest brands in both high fashion & street wear & they did what they knew best, showcased simplicity in their vision.
10. Wild Outro (advice)
For the collaboration