I am sitting on a bench at Blankets & Wine with Musa Omusi on my right and Chris Kamau standing just off to my left. This is the first time I have talked to them collectively as ‘Bongosawa’—the streetwear brand. And I was prepared. I had been through their Tumblr. Checked out Instagram. Watched a feature on YouTube. And most importantly I had listened to their playlists on SoundCloud. I was ready.
It started off well enough. Notepad out. Pen at the ready. And then a funny thing happened … we had been talking for about 15 minutes and I realised I hadn’t really written anything down, mainly because I was enjoying the conversation too much and getting really excited and inspired about all the creative possibilities in Nairobi. I awkwardly tilted my notepad to myself, cleared my throat and tried to act professional: “So would you say that Nairobi is your muse?”
“Nairobi is home. Nairobi is everything,” Musa says immediately.
“Nairobi is bae,” Chris adds and they both laugh.
“This isn’t just a brand that puts out stuff. We are not trying to be cool. Cool doesn’t take you anywhere. We are more deliberate… we are trying to tell a story.”
And that’s the thing about Chris, Musa and everything they do around and with Bongosawa. It is more than a clothing brand. It is their way of sharing stories and exploring ideas about the city they love and call home.
This story was produced in partnership with Blankets & Wine. Maridadi.co attended the tenth edition of the Blankets & Wine festival on Sunday 10 July 2016, and interviewed the designers who participated in the festival’s fashion pop-ups.