Meet Achieng’ Ariek is a fashion model, stylist and owner of Vazi Maridadi

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 00:00 |
Achieng’ Ariek.

When did your interest in fashion start?

I have always loved fashion for as long as I can remember. I think I was born with an innate love and eye for fashion.

I remember stealing my grandmother’s clothes when I was younger and trying them on, when I was around four or five years old.

I would also hand sew clothes for my paper doll and would enjoy dressing her up in various styles. 

What came first, modelling, styling or designing?

Designing and sewing came first. I would grow from styling my doll and start tailoring where I learnt how to cut cloth and sew properly.

I would slowly move from creating everyday simple looks, to bolder and more complex looks. I started experimenting and perfecting my design skills.

This love for good sewing and great design is what birthed Vazi Maridadi. Modelling the creations was just a natural next step, as I started with modelling my creations.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere, but I more often than not find it in people, everyday situations and things.

The funny thing is that, you do not have to go looking for inspiration, you just have to be open to it and have a working knowledge of what you are working on.

This way, your mind is able to decipher patterns and understand and draw inspiration from things that someone without a background in design would be unable to.

What does fashion and image mean to you?

Fashion to me is about identity. It is the first thing people notice about you even before you speak. It is a statement in and of itself and can be well leveraged as a form of personal expression.

People judge you on first impressions, but once formed, it takes time to deconstruct first impressions.

This is why I believe it is important to be conscious about the image you are projecting fashion wise and ensure that it is in tandem with what you want to achieve either at work or even on the streets. Fashion can be anything you want, so use it to curate an image you are proud of.

Describe your style. 

I would describe my fashion as a mix of fun, playful and a dash of ‘extraness’. I dress as each occasion dictates, but within the fun parameters I have just described.

Comfort is also key. I tend to ensure that not only do I look good, but also comfortable.

Which is your best fashion item?

It has to be my handmade Tusker earrings. I love them so much. Not only do they go with almost any outfit, but they are also a labour of love.

Which style icons both locally and internationally do you look up to?

I really love Sally Karago and all her collections. Marilyn Monroe is also someone who showed how fashion could be powerful if properly leveraged.

In your opinion, what does it take to be a great designer?

You have first of all, to believe in yourself even when no one else is. Comparison is the thief of greatness.

So, do not compare yourself to other designers who have already established themselves or who are trying to start out. You are different with your own unique capabilities.

Chart your own path, work on yourself and focus on creating great pieces, and growing yourself and your brand.

Give us one styling or fashion tip.

Experiment. Try stepping out of your comfort zone by trying something new. It might work, or it might not.

If it works out, you have a new way of presenting yourself to the world. If it does not, you have learnt one way to not dress up. Experiment and find the joy in dressing up. 

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