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Design Connections: Meet Adrian Jankowiak

Hoodie by Samir Breezy Nairobi Design Week

Nairobi Design Week

Hoodie by Samir Breezy
Samir Breezy wearing the hoodie Nairobi Design Week

Nairobi Design Week

Samir Breezy wearing the hoodie
Tabisha Esperanza, Adrian Jankowiak andSamir Breezy at Nairobi Design Week 2018 Nairobi Design Week

Nairobi Design Week

Tabisha Esperanza, Adrian Jankowiak andSamir Breezy at Nairobi Design Week 2018

10 September 2018
by Adrian Jankowiak

Adrian Jankowiak from Nairobi Design Week is one of the ten international delegates joining us in London this month for this year's Design Connections programme.

We asked Adrian to show us a piece of design that responds to the specific context in Kenya at the moment: 

The hoodie was designed and made by Samir, a Congolese fashion designer who has spent the last six years living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya. Kakuma has grown to become Kenya's seventh largest town, a melting pot of cultures with its own economy and creative industries.

The object represents the resilience that normal people who are forced to flee their country have, in chasing their dreams. Even though Samir has been displaced and faces other obstacles, he is still creating and pursuing a career as a fashion designer. It's something many people in more privileged circumstances don't strive towards and serves as an example of inspiration through creation, connecting to the Refugees Pavilion at the London Design Biennale 2018.

Samir attended Nairobi Design Week 2018, where he took part in a Q&A session with the public, as well as exhibiting his newest collection and selling pieces to visitors.

"Samir struck me as a fellow creative, someone I can share a conversation and joke with and we connected immediately. His pieces of streetwear were cool and wearable beyond the place where he designed them, showing the insights he had gained into popular culture." Adrian Jankowiak, Director of Nairobi Design Week.

"I've been thinking how I can start my own shop in Kakuma because I'm working in someone else's shop. I'm saving money so that I can open mine and I will have more time to design in more style... currently I get free time to make my own things when I'm not working for somebody." Samir on his plans for the future and how he stays up to date.

"I like looking in magazines at the work of other designers and also learn day by day from others, because design is my passion and dream."

The hoodie is also a representation of the wider culture of creativity and entrepreneurship in Kenya, where everybody seems to have a 'side hustle' which either helps them fulfil the practical requirements of providing for their needs, or gets them closer to creating a business from their passion alongside their day jobs.

In Kenya, the creative industry accounts for an estimated 5.3% of the national GDP (Kenya Copyright Board, 2013). This is equivalent to KES 182 billion of Kenya’s 3.4 trillion national GDP. With critical strategic support, the creative economy has the potential to contribute 10% of Kenya’s GDP within the next decade.

Each year during London Design Festival (LDF) we invite key design industry figures from around the world to join us for our Design Connections programme. 
The delegates will take a unique curated tour of the festival, meeting leading UK designers, curators, design organisations as well as discovering new work and gaining new relationships.

Find out more about Design Connections here.