The new Nyala sneaker collection from Afroshoes is an embodiment of intercity culture. It is multi-culturally inspired footwear that cuts across three capital cities to give the wearer an urbanite product to complete their outfit. The sneaker is launched with a Kickstarter campaign.
The Nyala sneaker is designed in Berlin and inspired by the architecture of its massive buildings, long visual axes, high ceilings and beauty that is inconspicuous. The sneaker collection is also influenced by the vibrancy and eclectic nature of Nairobi where the designer, Emo Rugene, grew up and it is produced in Addis Abeba, “The New Flower”.
Nyala is an Amharic word meaning Gazelle, paying tribute to the beauty, elegance and agility of this animal, which was a central part of the design process.
The collection is unisex and available in three colors: Giza (darkness - black), Mbingu (sky - blue) and Ardhi (land – brown). The shoes are designed on an ankle high silhouette with a rounded toe box and completed by a flexible rubber outsole to give the shoe the comfort and stability of an everyday shoe.
Each piece in the collection represents an element in the savanna and this is why every piece has a different upper and outsole color combination. The uppers are made of sheep leather that is light and durable, and on the inside of every shoe the tongue is lined by textile sourced from Kenya to give the shoes an authentic feel. The shoes do not come in shoeboxes but in customized unique shoe bags that are hand-made by a community-based organization in Nairobi called the Seed of hope.
Getting a pair of Nyala sneakers means that you literally wear a hand-made piece of work that has passed through three capital cities. This why we refer to them as the intercity sneakers and we hope they will again go round the world with our customers.
Afroshoes, or Afros as they are commonly referred to, is an innovative footwear brand founded by designer Emo Rugene in 2012 out of a yearning to create a fashionable every day shoe that Kenyans would identify with and make their own but since then the brand has grown to spread into other markets hence not making it not only a Kenyan brand but a global brand.
Made out of Ankara fabric, the initial shoes embodied the eclectic vibrancy that is resilient in bourgeoning Nairobi urban cultures. With designs that are local with an Afro centric aesthetic, Afroshoes have become a popular accessory amongst the hip and trendy in Kenya. It is a fashion must have for anyone who considers him or herself fashion forward and was posted by UP magazine Kenya as one of the top ten perfect gifts to get someone for Christmas (2012).
Afros have been featured in the KLM travel magazine, The Daily Nation, The Standard newspaper, Star Newspaper, People Newspaper; Drum magazine, Healthy woman and numerous blogs. In 2012 and 2014 Afros were featured in Festival for African Fashion and Arts (FAFA). In 2015 Afros was Part of the Mercedes Forum for African Brands, Hamburg.
To date the best selling pieces have been the Classic Afros, which are ballerinas and slippers. The hessian collection has also done well over time because of the innovative approach of using Gunia (recycled sacks) to make shoes. But now with the launch of Nyala collection afroshoes aims to firmly assert itself as brand that can stand its ground in the global market.
Emo Rugene is a shoe designer, model and actor. Having a promising career as a footballer cut short by injuries would put down many but not Emo, he decided to pursue his second passion which was fashion. Starting out as a stylist for African fashion house Blackbird Jeans he worked on numerous fashion events, music videos and photo shoots for both corporate clients and individuals. Then came modeling where he graced numerous runways and fashion Editorial spreads. Afros was a natural progression for him birthed from a desire to express his fashion sense. This was a chance to put his thoughts and inspirations to reality. And what better way than through shoes.
Emo holds a BA in International Relations from Kenya and an MA in Peace Studies from Austria.
At the moment Afros are stocked up in various outlets across the world:
USA and Canada: www. Africatrademakers.com
For more information