Kenya's "KikoRomeo" Goes To Milan


After completing fashion design studies in Rome, followed by years working as a designer in Barcelona, Scottish born Ann McCreath took a three-month break doing aid work in Kenya. Finding it fascinating, she stayed on for 3 years, before deciding to go back to her profession and do trade instead of aid

So in 1996 With a desire to help create jobs in rural areas and make unique, high quality products for retail Ann launched her own fashion house under the name “KikoRomeo”, which means “Adam’s apple” in Kiswahili.. Hoping Kenyans would take pride in African-inspired contemporary fashion, and promote their economy through buying locally made fashion, she set about making ethically sound products with inputs from community artisans and women’s groups, which she retailed through her own shop.

Since then KikoRomeo has continued to offer ready-made garments, cut to international fashion trends, using African made fabrics, often with handcrafted details.
In April, Italian shoppers will be able to buy Kenyan designs from the Kiko Romeo fashion house at a top department store in Milan called La Rinascente.
Kiko Romeo founder, Ann McCreath told Word Is that she has shipped off some designs that will be sold in Italy.
"This is a major break not only for me but for the whole industry," Ann said, "The department store owners got to know about us when Vogue Italia came to Kenya and featured Kiko Romeo designs in a two page spread. The process of shipping off the merchandise involves bar coding the pieces, packaging them and "being consistent" in the whole process."
Some of the designed shipped off include kitenge skirts, dresses and blouses. La Rinascente means "rebirth" in Italian. It is a Thai owned Italian retailer operating upscale department stores in the area of clothing, household and beauty products. La Rinascente was the first department store to open in Rome in 1887. Currently La Rinascente owns a chain of 11 department stores located in Italian major cities: two in Rome and one in Milan, Genoa, Turin, Florence, Palermo, Catania, Cagliari, Padova and Monza.

She says instilling "not only employment but also pride" into local cultures allows her to have a successful team around her. 

Taking inspiration from Africa constantly, Romeo purchases the majority of her textiles in Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Moreover, she brings the majority of her cotton from West Africa.

It is her dream to open "an all African brand that can be franchised around the world". If your in Nairobi, you can find KikoRomeo in Yaya Centre. For those on the net, check out

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