Love. Live.Dress. This is the tag line at Fashion 2die4 trends, a company that seeks to revolutionize the fashion industry in Kenya, and whose popularity grows at the wake of each new day. And the success of the company so far is attributed to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Georgie Ndirangu, who has worked hard to elevate it to its current admirable status. [Of course not forgetting the team behind Georgie who have done their fair share of hard work]. On 29th September, Fashion 2die4 will be launching their new website, which will be a platform to interact with its ever growing fan base, not just in Kenya…but way beyond our borders. I caught up with the man himself…and this is how our conversation went down!
*So Georgie, we will start this by asking you to tell us a little about yourself…
Well, I’m 24 years old, high on life, married to my dreams, and pledge allegiance to God, family, Oreos and “2DIE4”.
*…And tell me something about your childhood life. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Mombasa..ndio maana matamshi hayanibabaishi mie! Hehe. We then came to Nairobi after about 8 years. I was too young to understand what was happening around me.
*…and where did you school…both primary and secondary?
I studied in Langata Primary, then moved to Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj school in Nairobi West, where my mom was teaching at the time. I then went to a school in Kirinyaga province, before finally coming back to Nairobi in class five to Thika Road Christian School, where I cleared my KCPE. I went to a high school in Nyeri and enrolled in Kagumo High and cleared in 2006.
*…then you got admitted to JKUAT to pursue BSc. Actuarial Science. You must be a genius. How was campus life for you??
Not really a genius…but if you insist! Hehe. I love math though..used to follow teachers all over the place in high school telling them to mark some extra work I had done. In JKUAT, it was a long 4 years. Made life-long friends, life-long business partners…it was probably the ‘realest’ 4 years in my life. Learned crucial lessons, made mistakes that were essential to me progressing in life, copied in one or two exams (I just ruined the ‘genius’ bit, didn’t I?)…I aced it all though. Got my honors and proceeded to work for the government at the Ministry of Housing and Housing Finance.
*Then almost out of the blue…you decided to come up with Fashion 2die4. How did this come about? Take us back to where you thought of the idea and how it evolved…
In all honesty, fashion is a way of life…a lifestyle. It all started as a joke…just something to pass time…but ended up being edged deep. I found myself researching and getting to the depth of everything. I figured fashion was so diverse, locally and world over…why wear a watch? Why wear a bow tie to a dinner and not a fat tie? Why wear cufflinks to a business meeting, but button shirts to casual Fridays? Why wear vertical stripes and not horizontal stripes? Why invest in cologne? How does looking good show respect? Then the interest grew when I began listing and noting down fashion houses and fashion lines here and world over. When I heard of John Kaveke, Ann McCreath of Kikoromeo, and the likes in Kenya…I skimmed through for weeks and weeks on end…their past work…personalities they had worked with…future collections they envisioned…colors they mastered for their work…the type of models they used for each of their pieces, and such. When I heard of Kanye’s clothing line, I skimmed through…researching about the origin of his showcase theme…relation to music, and such. Interest just flowed. It went from watches, to shoes, to male and female fashion, to deeper-more fashion statements like Mr. Porter, and Moreschi. It juts really excited me.
When someone mentioned a fashion house I had not heard of, it disturbed me till I went back and researched and got to know more about it. That’s mostly WHY 2DIE4 came to be. That was the drive behind it. What favored me too is that most of Kenya’s personalities, singers, celebrities, and the like were coincidentally my friends…so they were really instrumental in creating that ‘ripple’ effect for ‘2die4’. A good number of people got to know it. Through my personal Facebook page, my blog, 2DIE4’s Facebook page, photo-shoots with personalities and events. 2DIE4 was placed on a pedestal I couldn’t go back on, and I haven’t regretted anything ever since. And of course I did all that, still going on with work as usual, for formality’s sake. And because I live in the real world where I can’t only rely on dreams and ambitions. Those have to be supported by hard work, connections and financial stability. I strived to have all that and more, still on that track. I do not have a studio and an official work setting for 2DIE4 yet. It has been a bit difficult settling down because of moving countries, moving jobs and all. But all in due time, I will get to settling down, hopefully in Kenya, and get things grounded. But for now, I’ll go ahead with the virtual workplace and make the best out of it.
*So, how would you describe the fashion industry in Kenya at the moment? Do you think we are more fashion conscious as a people now than we were back then?
EXTREMELY! For example, I have tweeted about fashion houses more than enough times and there’s always a response from Kenyans and East Africans on my friends list. People watch what they wear, which places they shop at, how the colors coordinate with their clothes, how their hair looks, tailor clothes for events,..it’s something that juts blew up! But hands down…Kenya in a few years will be a fashion capital to reckon with!!
*And we know the fashion industry has a lot of players. Would you kindly break it down for us on the different areas that make up the fashion industry and the kind of business opportunities that exist within this framework?
Well, we have designers (Blackbird Jeans, Kikoromeo, Achie Otigo, and more), stylists (Silvia Njoki, Malaika Zoe, and more), choreographers, make-up artists, photographers, concept directors, videographers, models, aesthetic directors, fashion advisors and consultants, bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, event planners, interior designers. There is always…always something to do within the fashion industry, and a lot of money involved too. The only trick is to ensure your style or work is edgy, and steps ahead of the rest.
*So back to Fashion 2die4, who else do you work with and what have you guys accomplished so far?
We have done photo-shoots all over Kenya, different provinces, different themes. Like the Safari Rally shoot in Nakuru where we got to do the shoot in the tune-up garage…underwater and beach photo-shoots in Mombasa…airport photo-shoots…shoots at National Park which ended really abruptly after the snakes were brought out to the models, Lol.
2DIE4 has taken part in events too, of course the one most people might remember is “Bitter Sweet” with Nick Mutuma, Ian Mugoya, and Edd Tash. In 2DIE4, there’s a digital designer and creative guru in terms of the technological aspect of things, David Tito. The aesthetics director, Malaika Zoe, and top fashion stylist Hanako Takaishi. There is a web developer and application designer Solomon King who will be very instrumental when we get to that stage soon as our magazine and phone applications roll out. (Ooops, leaked secret)
*And how do you select your models? (Just in case there are those who would be interested to model for fashion 2die4?)
Models are selected depending on the project. For example, if the photo-shoot has to do with nature and forest shoots…the models will be required to have the full African face, full jaw, perfect cheek bones, and such. There are occasional posts on 2DIE4’s social networks, calling out models, and telling them to send in their pictures to be shortlisted for selection.
*And how do you select the photographers ? Would you give us a list of some of the photographers you have worked with?
Different photographers have different techniques. The photographer is selected according to the project, and his/her availability. We have worked with Ben Kiruthi, Isabella Gomes, Rowena Tirop, Mutua Matheka, Joe Makeni, Leon Muli, Leon Makori, and Kevin Kemama.
*Who do you admire in the fashion world…both locally and beyond?
Locally, Blackbird Jeans make me proud to be Kenyan. They have stepped over boundaries that are in normal instances, DIFFICULT to cross over. From making one or two pieces of trench coats for fashionistas in Nairobi, to showcasing in New York Fashion Week, they are definitely heading places. Internationally, it has to be Michael Kors, and Karl Lagerfeld. EPIC.
*And how does it feel to be elevated to celebrity status just by pursuing your hobby? Fashion 2die4 has already worked with local celebrities you know! Did you ever see yourself here like 5 years ago?
It is really really really humbling. Most of my friends ask me…. You’re not a musician, you’ve not been in movies, you’re not in local soaps, not in commercials and adverts (well, I was in a couple), not in all that, how do people know you??????So it is all really humbling. My blog too, an overflow of my thoughts, also got people wondering, “who’s this guy?” I definitely did not see myself here 5 years ago, but judging by what’s happened since then, you can only imagine how high I’ve set my sights now.
*What’s your personal style? And what does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means everything to me. It is a sign of respect when you show up to a meeting looking good and presentable. It shows your state of mind, it shows how organized or keen you are. It shows that you are edgy and can think outside the box, it is a C.V all by itself. My personal style: Trendy and Appropriate.
*Nice. Now, on September 29th, something great is in the offing. Tell us more about that…
2DIE4’S NEW SITE WILL BE LAUNCHED!! The number one fashion hub, and fashion directory, made in Kenya, from Africa, for the world. The saddest bit about it though is that I went back to doing my masters just 2 weeks ago, and work here in Rwanda is really hectic too. I had thought of doing the launch in Nairobi, but that deemed impossible. I guess I will have to wit till next year to launch the official magazine, and official ground base in Kenya. God speed!
*What do you hope to accomplish with the new fashion 2die4 website?
To place Kenya on a pedestal. To make it a fashion capital. To expose designers, photographers, fashion enthusiasts, bloggers, stylists, and everyone in the world of fashion to the world.
*So, what’s the future of Fashion 2die4? What should we look forward to?
Fashion website > Online fashion magazine > Print magazine > Fashion store > Fashion line > Fashion TV. God speed. ^_^
*What’s your advice for other equally passionate fashionistas like yourself who would love to venture into this industry?
In a world where only the best survive…you have to stand out to fit in.
*You are currently residing in Rwanda. What’s life there like and what are you really up to in that landlocked country? Is there something else you pursue on the side?
Yes, and might I point out, this is the cleanest country I have ever been in. There’s a lot going on here, I work 8.30 to 5 for a company called Tele 10…presenting English news too on a Radio station called Radio 10. Very soon I’ll also get to read news on TV.[I'm just saying ^_^] I also do statistics and analysis for an NGO, do Forex and trades online for a few investment companies…logistics and thesis for Mount Kenya University here in Rwanda…and side businesses in Africa and two other countries elsewhere. That Bentley Continental GT and yacht won’t buy itself, you know!
*Your association with Ian Mugoya and Nick Mutuma? Is there something we should know about you three?
Those two guys were really instrumental in my growth. I love them. We grew up with Ian, so I’ve known him ever since. Edgy character, extremely fashionable, and a personality not so many can pull off. The only way you’d know what he is really about is if you got to hang out with him or do business with him in more than one instance. I met Nick almost 2 years ago, and his train of thought deserves a hats-off. Extremely passionate about everything he does. And edgy too. Fashionwise, acting, music, and always has a different perspective towards life. These two are definitely going places…and I must say they challenge me greatly!
THE QUICK SIX::
*So, considering the industry you are working in, the girls must be doing more of chasing you…than you chasing them. How has your dating life been like? Last time I checked…Hanako Takaishi was your most treasured prize….
Well, we fell off 8 months ago. She’s still in my life though. Probably one of my best friends too .There is someone in my life, but I vowed never to put private life on a public pedestal ever again. (SMILE!)
*Name for me at least one celebrity crush…or any other crush for that matter….
A tie between Lola Monroe and Sandra Bullock. I’d say Ellen DeGeneres too. Sense of humor is extremely sexy!
*Your take on inter-racial dating…
Oh, you know me! Inter-continental dating, inter-tribal, inter-everything. Lol. We do it for the sake of our babies and how they will look. I am kidding though. That aside, it’s much more than just the physical. Goal-oriented, realizes God is everything, and respects life and elements in it (people, money, etc)
*What would you rather live without… your boxer shorts or your blackberry?
MY BOXER SHORTS! Touch my Blackberry and die.
*The most expensive item you own is your…
A HORSE we bought with a friend from university, pieces of land in Kiambu, and my Macbook Pro. Omera yawa!
*And finally, your most embarrassing moment is….
Oh, damn. Police caught me and a friend making out in the back seat of a car outside ‘Club Undecided’ during my 1st year in Campus. They actually got into the car and said they would wait till we finished. We were so young and foolish back then. We should have locked those doors though. Lol. Sigh. *********
There goes…the much we could peep into Georgie’s life. [at least for now] More may come later though…so watch this space. Otherwise I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have. Pursue your passions with equal measure…and while you are at it, remember to love. To Live..and To dress! [My work here is done] ^_^
VIDEO OF THE DAY::
The video of the day happens to be my assignment for all you blog stalkers. Try and locate Georgie in this video. [Hints] He’s the guy masquerading as some fake photographer. He’s the guy doing some cheesy dance move..while chewing his jaw off…somewhere on a rooftop. And those hints should already get you going. #teamfindgeorgie