On the outskirts of Kibera is the home-studio of David Ochieng; a simple room bursting with scraps of colourful kitenge fabrics, sewing machines, and vibrant designs that have made their way across the world.
Kibera is known as east Africa’s largest informal settlement. With a population of over half a million people, the community has long been confined to a narrative of poverty and hardship. But these streets are also home to some of the continent’s greatest talents. And one of these is Ochieng, an internationally renowned fashion designer, also known by his brand as Lookslike Avido.
As the son of a single mother, Avido’s childhood came with many challenges. Unable to afford school fees, he was forced to drop out of school at the age of 15. But from this place of hopelessness, he harnessed a sense of strength, creativity, and resilience that has since turned him into one of East Africa’s most iconic fashion designers.
What strikes you about Avido is the love he has for his community; the people, colours, and energy of his neighbourhood streets, acting as the inspiration behind his designs. And through them he has created a style that has travelled from Kibera to the pages of Vogue and beyond.
Despite his success, he has never forgotten home and his dream to uplift his family and community. “I believe that any achievement I get in life is supposed to impact everybody around me. And if that achievement is not impacting the people around me but only me, I don’t want that.”
“This is where I get my inspiration. Kibera is what makes me who I am.”