Natasha Shitakha, 24, is a fast-rising Kenyan artistic director and brains behind vogue Kenyan fashion thrift store Sabba. She talks style, art, sustainability, her celebrity boyfriend, and more.
Kindly break down how your blog ‘valishanatasha’ came to be?
Valishanatasha is a platform where I share my visual perspectives. I was working on projects but was frustrated about not knowing how to share them with the world.
That’s how valishanatasha came to be. Instagram is good, but I felt people wouldn’t take me seriously lol.
And what exactly is Sabba in general and to you, personally?
Sabba is my e-thrift store. I’m a strong believer in sustainability, so I figured why not sell the clothes used or seen on valishanatasha to those that like them?
And since I thrift all my clothes, why not make the same service accessible to those who don’t have time to go hunting for clothes at Gikomba.
Do you have any philosophies that guide your art when working on your stuff?
Stay true to yourself, you will eventually find the tribe that vibes with your art.
What are some highs and lows since you charted on this path?
Lows: No one wants to work with you unless you’re relevant or well known.
Highs: Reception I received when I launched valishanatasha.com. Didn’t know there were people rooting for me. It felt real good.
What influences your day-to-day wear?
My personality should speak through my outfit.
Do you have anything you stock up on a lot?
Blazers and jackets! They have an infinite ability to dress up or dress down an outfit. They’re usually dismissed as functional pieces, but really have a personality of their own.
What Kenyan celebrity has the most fashion faux pas to you?
Lol …to each his own…
Whose wardrobe remains undefeated to you? And why?
Oumayma Elboumeshouli, Rihanna, Luka Sabbat, Yoon Ambush, Tiffany Hsu just to name a few (I can’t choose one). Their style is highly editorial and they are not afraid to experiment.
Do you have any muses?
Nature, architecture, basically things that happen around me.
How have you been winging your fashion endeavours with Covid-19 being a disruptive force? Has it changed your outlook on fashion in any way?
Covid-19 hasn’t changed my outlook on fashion but rather proven my point of view that fashion is a manifestation of human art and communication. Everyone now walks around in masks and that communicates that there is a global pandemic. This new norm has inspired a different kind of creativity within the industry.
What would you describe your art as?
True to myself.
What are your biggest influences when working on your brand?
Quality. I will not release any work (redesigned thrifted clothes) until I am satisfied with it. I’d rather repeat or completely forget about it if it doesn’t turn out how or better than how I envisioned it.
Your photography has an artistic edge to it, how do you come up with such cool concepts?
I get an idea then try to figure out how to express it in a non-conventional way.
Does it help that you date a popular photographer (Kevin Buo)?
I’d say ‘a good photographer’ instead (chuckles). You might be popular, but cannot see what I see, therefore, creating together becomes impossible. But to be politically correct it does help that I’m dating a good photographer who happens to be popular.
How do you two interact with art and what do you appreciate about his craft?
We both agree that there’s no right or wrong way of doing art. We really just appreciate the process. I love the fact that he can capture the essence of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.
What’s the reception to your brand and work so far?
Better than I expected.
Anything to look out for from you in the future?
I’m looking forward to my future just as much as anyone would theirs. For now, I’m focused on establishing a solid brand.
What next for Natasha?
Good things, but now it’s consistency and growth.