The Fenty launch in Kenya was a shameful topsy-turvy affair.
Just a few days after world-renowned celebrity Rihanna endorsed our very own Nikita Kering as the Brand Ambassador for Fenty Beauty Products, herself and Kenyans are acutely upset about the disservice of our Kenyan designers and social media celebrities during the launch.
As patriotic citizens, we decided to take the matter to the highest court of the land; social media.
So why are we so upset? Firstly, the launch was an international affair, that had attracted a global audience, including Rihanna herself. Secondly, it was an opportune moment for Kenyan designers to flaunt their African exquisite and authentic attires. But since the devil was working overtime, our very own social media frolics, who call themselves "influencers", stole the show and our heritage literally. If "kuchoma" was a person, Kenyans outdid themselves.
Spatially first, are these attendees influencers? Certainly not. Why? They don't meet the basic criteria of what makes a good market influencer. An influencer is a person who inspires or guides the actions of others. Influencers have specialized knowledge, authority, or insight into a specific subject. Their pre-existing presence in a niche makes them a useful launching pad for brands in search of credibility. Influence marketing has a great impact on brands if done right.
A huge following on social media alone does not make you an influencer. Period.
Secondly, influence marketing is a respected payable job. Showing up for an event for free and uninvited, only to boost and satisfy your relevance does not qualify you as an influencer.
Are there concrete Kenyan influencers? Definitely yes. Did they attend the event? No. Why? They were not invited and definitely no one was paying them to be there.
So who is to blame for the Fenty chaos? The organizers. Events of such magnitude should be an invite-only affair. Most importantly, it should be crafted in a thematic way, very deliberately, for a noble purpose. Kenyan designers should showcase their idyllic authentic African designs, for the world to see. The international fashion market, serious designers would agree, is hungry for African wear. It is sad how we walk majestic in CHANEL, VERSACE, GUCCI, CALVIN KLEIN wears. We literally have every name on us but our own.
The beauty and fashion industry is a multi-billion industry that has a great influence on scores of people, especially women, and Kenyan event organizers and stakeholders must tap into it with enthusiasm, using the right people.
Corporates and designers, hear me well. The influence Lupita Nyong'o or Elsa Majimbo or Kate Actress, etc, have on your brand, must not be confused by a twerking socialite. Popularity is not an influence!
African Wear must be at the forefront of fashion design. We will not remain hewers of wood and drawers of water.
That said, the Fenty launch hullabaloo was too loud, we could hardly hear anything.
Photo Courtesy: Style by Neomi
Photo Courtesy: Lawy Afrik