Marian Kihogo on Vintage and Eco Fashion

Share your vision for the Marian Kihogo brand.

My vision is for anything that becomes part of the Marian Kihogo brand to be a personal experience. A bespoke personalised experience right through from my personal & fashion styling, creative consulting to; a comprehensive fashion, beauty and culture website.

What are your thoughts on the emerging talent in the African Fashion Industry?

I think it is incredible, refreshing and a reflection of the diverse creativity Africa has to offer. Designers like Deola Sagoe, Fati Asebelua of Momo, Xuly Bet, Marianne Fassler, Jacques van der Watt’s of Black Coffee and so many more are completely changing the face of fashion in Africa. They fact that they have been enthusiastically received is further proof that there is the gap for home birthed professional fashion design.

I love that the researched, conceptualised, organised, cohesive, developed and inspiring collections coming from these brands can stand head to head with their western counterparts.

I am hoping that fashion professionals and the media come together in varying African countries to build recognised and respected professional fashion industries that will put the talent of these designers on the plane they deserve.

What role do fashion journalists and writers play in this?
A huge integral role! Journalists, writers and the media as whole can make or break a designer. I think it is important first and foremost for the media in Africa to support our designers right from the grassroots level upwards.

Journalists need to see what these designers are creating as art, I think once they begin to really respect what the designers do, it will go a long way.

The designers can only create their collections, they then need the media through editorials, features etc to share that with the masses.

As a stylist and fashion editor, what are you doing to spread the green message of eco-fashion?

Gosh first and foremost by my lifestyle and personal style. I am huge on vintage. 80% of my closet is vintage. I will not buy a vintage however amazing from more than a certain distance from me though to keep it enviromentally friendly.

I try to support eco and enviromentally friendly fashion & beauty brands and products through my features and styling.

Two brands I’m loving currently are Duchess Marden and Anita Quansah.

Duchess Marden is a luxury eco-friendly beauty brand that I swear by. As with most things I adore, I featured the brand in my ECO FABULOUS segment.

Quansah on the other hand is a textile, fashion and jewellery designer. She re-works vintage elements in unique ways in her designs.

What are some of the challenges you face?
Can I be cheeky and say none? Not because they do not exist, but because I refuse to look at what might be perceived traditionally as a challenge as one at all.

What would you say is the role of vintage clothes in sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion (pretty much eco-fashion) is fashion created with as much consideration to the environment as possible. So I like vintage for being eco-friendly as it is encouraging the re-use, recycle and re-purpose factors and minimizing the need to produce and manufacture from scratch.

Once you are essentially buying vintage from within a good distance to yourself (to cut air miles), I think you are supporting sustainable fashion as vintage takes no manufacturing or agricultural processes to create.

What are the key vintage trends of the season?

Pastel hues and a lighter colour palette. Spring/Summer 2010 catwalk saw collections feature soft and pastel colours. Lately I’m seeing a lot of people wearing vintage garments that take inspiration from this soft toned palette.

Another is reworked vintage. People are either taking their vintage apart and creating the new with elements from that vintage piece.

How can people incorporate vintage pieces in their dressing while still incorporating the latest trends?

This is a great question. There are many ways but one great way is …

A lot of the latest trends are inspired by elements from the past. So for example, a lot of the Spring/Summer 2010 trends are 1970’s inspired. Miuccia Prada’s collection with Miu Miu was 70’s right from the chunky platform heels with the animal prints to the large pointed collared bell sleeved blouses etc. So if you want to wear vintage but still keep with the latest trends look for pieces of vintage that reflect those trends either in era, colour palette etc.

Marian Kihogo is a fashion writer, fashion stylist, creative consultant & celebrity personal stylist who lists Tolula Adeyemi as one of her clients. She edits

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