Working Lives Kenya: Fashion designer
- 5 October 2012
- From the section World Radio and TV
Fundi Frank is one of Kenya's foremost fashion designers and a one-man brand.
"Fundi means expert in Swahili," he explains. And running his own business means Frank has had to become expert at many things over the years, from needlework to marketing. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with fashion. "I used to get into trouble for cutting the sleeves off my clothes," he jokes.
Working out of the fourth floor of a downtown Nairobi skyscraper, he now produces original designs for pop stars and politicians. Once one of the performers on Kenya's emerging hip-hop scene, his brand started to shine when he made clothes for his musician friends.
Spending time with Frank you are struck that he is always on call. This is no nine-to-five job. He's often busy talking into one of his two mobile phones or networking with Kenya's most well-known stars. His inspiration comes he says from many different places, including the global brands that end up in Nairobi's second-hand clothes markets. He earns about $1,500 (£930) a month.
Frank has a clear ambition to promote his fashion ideas well beyond Kenya. Asked whom he would like to dress, he replies, "The Queen of England because of the glamour. Oh, and Barack Obama." He thinks the US president in particular could do with a makeover, "He's got a good body and he's easy going," Frank says, "but he dresses too uptight, like a banker."