Hello good people. I hope you are well and keeping warm.
Meet Martin Wachira, a 24 year old fashion designer, stylist and trend setter. He is a  Bcom student at Strathmore University, CEO and Founder of Elegante Gents.
How did Elegante Gents come to be?
I started by selling second-hand shoes and clothes back in 2012. I love fashion and I dress up, so, guys in school would ask me where I get my clothes from. From that I realized there is a gap and I started selling clothes.
A long the way I came up with a certain tie, Martias Ties, and guys really loved it and would ask me to make one for them.
I could sell broken suits and it came to a point where clients would ask for a full matching suit and I could not get one. I thought of designing suits myself. At the same time, I had guys who would custom make shoes for me and Ng’arisha brand was born.
We re-branded to Elegante Gents last year. Elegante is elegant in Spanish, meaning pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance or manner.
Tell us about styling and image consultancy…
We help guys change or upgrade their closets. We also have an event calendar and we guide our clients on what to wear to different events.
Did you always want to be self-employed?
Yes I did. My dad is an entrepreneur, and growing up I always admired how he ran his businesses.
Being a first born, I used to spend a lot of time with him and I loved the freedom that came with self-employment and also having an opportunity to help your society. Ironically, he wanted me to go to school and afterwards get a white collar job as opposed to being an entrepreneur like him.
My dad learned about me doing business much later after I started, but he was okay with it. My mum has always been very supportive.
You are a student and a businessman of a growing and successful brand. How do you balance these two?
It has not been easy. I am usually very busy during the day and I am now planning to shift my classes to evening to allow me to run the brand full time. I have also been taking academic breaks. I am not under pressure to finish school to go look for a job because I am already running a brand.
What does it take to have an outfit made at Elegante Gents?
  1. The first thing we do is meet with the client, either here in school if he is a student or lecturer or any other convenient place.
  2. The client gets to pick the fabric from the samples that we have.
  3. We discuss the design desired and we also get to guide the client on the designs and fabric.
  4. We do the measurements.
  5. It takes three days to make the suit.
  6. After that, we meet for fitting.
         If the suit fits perfectly we are good to go, if not, we take it back for adjustments.
The suits range been Kshs. 7,500- 15,000.
What inspires your designs?
The inspiration mostly comes from the clients, depending on what they want. Our designs are tailored according to what our clients’ desires and that is why we keep their profiles.
We have many male fashion brands, what makes Elegante Gents stand out from the crowd?
We love and appreciate our clients. Every time you buy a suit we top it up with accessories; ties and lapels at zero cost.
We also have a very good relationship with our clients, we communicate every now and then. They get to tell us what we can do or improve on so as to serve them better.
We also update our clients on matters fashion and keep a calendar of events for them.
What are the challenges that you have faced and how do you overcome them?
When we started, the tailors I was working with were not doing their part and that messed up the business. I had to get other tailors that could work effectively.
Getting the right fabric was also a challenge at the beginning but I came to learn more about fabrics and their qualities.
Where do you see the brand in the next five years?
We are looking into opening twenty shops for our garments in Nairobi and other cities.
We are also looking into doing a suit within a Day. A client comes in and they have a suit made for them in a day.
Elegante from Kenya to the world, showcasing at international runaways.
I am passionate about empowering the boy child and as a brand we are coming up with projects to facilitate that. The plan is to have regular meet ups for men, where we empower ourselves and discuss matters affecting us.
We hope to add men empowerment symbols details like crowns, swords, lions, and shield to suits that best describes a person.
What are you most happy about currently?
We recently got a huge tender to make uniforms for church members and it came as a surprise to us. It shows that we are doing something great and we are progressing.
We also dressed guys for a certain school faculty dinner party.
We have an offer to make ladies’ suits and it is a challenge we are looking forward to.
Who are your dream clients?
As many youths as possible and all kinds of people from politicians to businessmen both locally and internationally.
Who do you look up to?
Davison Frere and Musika from US who formed a partnership called Musika_Frere.
Don Morphy from France.
From Kenya; Cittiffical Klothing and Really good.
Sir Henry.
Your take on Kenyan fashion industry…
Kenyans are now promoting Kenyan brands more than few years back.
There is also a sense of belonging in our designs that people are relating with. We are also starting to believe in our brands.
How would you describe your own fashion style?
I like wearing broken suits most of the time. Since high school I have always been the neatest. I am a trend setter, daring and unique.
You started business at a pretty young age. Guys your age are very reluctant when it comes to making the first step, giving excuses of finances or skills. What would you tell them?
It is not about the money you have but the passion. Find a problem that you want to solve, come up with a solution and when people accept it, charge them, that is entrepreneurship.
We are living in the most optimistic time, technology has a lot of power that we need to tap into.  Let us take advantage of social media and maximize the opportunities available.
Youths need to rise up, follow their passion, solve societal problems and at the same time be themselves.
Fashion tips….
When wearing a plaid (checked or stripped) at the bottom, wear a plain garment on top.
Try out nice colour combination.
Last words….
I would urge people to keep supporting our local brands and for the designers to continue with the good work.
We, as designers, should not look at each other as competitors, rather come together and support each other.

To contact Martin; 
Phone number- 0700304902
Instagram- @Elegante_gents
Facebook- Elegante Gents

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