Brother and sister team Papa Petit and Velma Rossa are shaping Kenya’s fashion landscape with their blog 2ManySiblings. Featuring images of the duo wearing geek chic ensembles in and around Nairobi, the Tumblr site only launched in July 2013 but the response as been, in Velma’s own words, “phenomenal”. KISUA called them up for a chinwag.
KISUA: Hello! So how did you two get to be so stylish?
VELMA: Our mother was our first fashion influence. She always made us dress well for Sunday church service.
PAPA: Our parents weren’t strict on us. At Christmas they’d take us into town and buy us the clothes we wanted. We were the cool kids.
V: We’ve been inspired by our dad’s old photo albums lately. We’re also influenced by nature, art, architecture and culture.
K: How would you sum up your look now?
P: My style is dandy punk. My staples are biker jackets, tweed pants, bowler hats and Dr. Martens shoes.
V: If Mary Kate Olsen’s style and Solange Knowles’ style had a baby, that would be me. I love plaid shirts, Leso fabric crop tops, leather pants and turbans.
K: Who are your icons?
V: Jimi Hendrix for his baroque opulence and shock ‘n’ roll.
P: Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh (Art Comes First), Robert Rabensteiner (Vogue Italia) and Ouigi Theodore (Brooklyn Circus) for their individual suiting styles.
K: What are your day jobs?
P: I’m a personal stylist, which was born out of my hobby of thrifting at Gikomba flea market. People started to ask me to source clothes for them and I’ve since styled Kenyan musicians including Sauti Sol, Elani and Benoit Shappaman from Camp Mulla.
V: I’ve had fingers in every fashion pie there is. I worked backstage at Mercedes-Benz fashion weeks in South Africa and written for magazines and at the moment I’m at the Ethical Fashion Initiative.
K: Is the Kenyan fashion scene thriving?
V: It’s at an all time high because Kenyans are beginning to embrace all things Kenyan and African fabrics are now considered fashionable. This is creating room for innovation and for new designers to come up.
P: Designers like Blackbird. They started the craze for drop crotch skinny jeans.
K: Why start your blog?
V: It’s a means of documenting our personal style and shining a light on Nairobi as a future urban destination of fashion inspiration. The blog has opened up opportunities for us that we can’t wait to reveal in good time.
P: We want to turn 2ManySiblings into a brand selling our products and services on a global platform.
V: And we want to change the conservative perception of African style. We are today’s weirdos and tomorrow’s visionaries!
Images: courtesy of 2ManySiblings
Words: Helen Jennings