One on one with Wendy Kemunto, singer-songwriter and performer
WENDY KEMUNTO, 25, is a singer-songwriter and performer who featured on TV music project Coke Studio Africa. Besides being one of Nairobi’s premium contemporary artistes mastering sounds in Afro soul and R&B, she is fashion savvy. She chats with ALFAYO ONYANGO on her style
What is style to you?
It is a form of personal self-expression and identity that resonates with me. But I can define my style as anything that makes me feel comfortable and free.
What is your signature look?
I am obsessed with ankara and if I am not wearing ankara, then I accessorise with it. I always complement it with something. Ankara really is a lifestyle to me. It’s a thing that defines me; I don’t define it and also because my mum is a great designer, she introduced me to it and it stuck ever since.
How does your look influence you as a musician?
As a musician, fashion will always compliment your music craft. So, I have to always be conscious about how I look, especially when attending events or on stage performing. People easily judge you by what you wear, which may influence them not listen to your music. However, it’s advisable not to over do the looks. Keep it simple, but stylish. That’s my philosophy.
What’s the one thing you never leave the house without?
Lip gloss. I value my lips and I don’t take chances on them. If the have nothing on them such as lipstick or gloss I feel like I’m almost naked. I literally can’t function without it.
Do you purchase items based on purpose or brands?
I do it for purpose. I only wear what I see myself in. I avoid doing any unnecessary purchases and only shop for what that really matters; the one that serves the purpose.
What are your favourite local and international fashion brands?
Locally, Angelique Wear is always on the top of my list. The fashion house is so versatile and up-to-date with the latest Ankara trends. In fact, they are my exclusive Ankara stylists. Internationally, Balmain is my darling, simply because their designer — Oliver Rousteing — is a genius!
But who are your biggest fashion icons of all time?
First of all, Nhlanhla Nciza, because of how she merges different fabrics and prints. She’s just so creative and refreshing. Then there’s Rihanna. She is such a natural and makes it look so easy. I also admire singer H.E.R. I love how her style is so chilled and simple yet unique.
What can you say influences your style?
I’d say my mood or ideas I have that are brought to life by different designers I work with.
What are your biggest fashion pet peeves?
Sagging pants. I find that really unattractive. A man who dresses in simple, well-fitting clothes showcases his confidence and a sense of style and direction.
Your favourite scents are?
Elizabeth Arden Red Door. I love it because it is a classic, elegant signature of fragrance and a symbol of glamour and luxury.
What would we catch you dead in?
Weaves. I can’t stand them, on my head at least.
What are your go to accessories?
African earrings, bangles and chokers. If you don’t find me in my ‘Afrocomb’ earrings or ankara choker, there is a problem.
Any memorable fashion moment you could share?
The day I performed at Coke Studio Africa in March, this year. I wore a beautiful multicoloured floored skirt courtesy of Wambui Thimba and Yvonne Afrostreet Collections. I felt so beautiful in it.