Bonnie Okenye also known as Boneye is a fashion designer and the founder of Dash Wear Kenya.
How did you get your foot into the fashion world?
I established my fashion label in 2014, a year before I completed my O-levels.
While at school, I had a passion for fashion and style and I would take time to check trends online and also familiarise myself with how Kenyan designers were doing their thing.
While at it, I discovered social media was a perfect platform for doing business, especially marketing, and that’s when I decided to create a personal account and a page for my clothline. And that’s how the journey to where I am now started.
What makes you different from other designers?
I am different because my uniqueness is found in customising the work of each individual client.
That’s what sets me apart from the rest. I work with five other friends who work on shifts and get paid daily.
Starting up, what challenges did you face and how did you deal with them?
As most young people, getting capital was a big issue. Remember I was still in high school when I started out, and at times I’d get orders and didn’t have the money to execute the job.
Then before growing a business network, moving products was also a great huddle. It got a bit easier when I started doing more online advertising.
How do you deal with public figures who at times can be hard masters to please?
Before working with a public figure it’s important to check on their history.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask within your business network about it. This helps one to meet their expectations.
What’s that one fashion event that best impressed you?
I have been in many fashion events and runways, but the 2017 Pwani International Fashion Week was an eye opener for me.
I met a number of Kenyan international designers who shared their vast experience in this field with me, and learnt a thing or two on how to network professionally.
Owing to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, how are you keeping your business afloat?
The pandemic has served a huge financial challenge, as we’ve only have had limited social events such as weddings and fashion shoots, which normally has people demanding for our products.
Remember we have to pay rent and also make a living for ourselves. On the brighter side though, designers have been up to the task when it comes to helping the world with the pandemic, with our unique face masks.
What’s clicking for you in the current trends?
Currently, strapped sweatpants are working the magic for me.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Solo Elvis. His work is just fantastic and his uniqueness in blending outfits and colours is impeccable. You can check him out on Instagram.
What’s the most expensive outfit you’ve ever made and for whom?
I once did a suit that I was paid Sh50,000. I also designed a ‘vertical strap jogger’, which a Kenyan artiste paid for Sh20,000. That was some real business.
Your day-to-day accessories include…Iced rings, chains and watch.