Kenya’s Diana Opoti is a fashion consultant in strategy and communications through her business, Diana Opoti PR, and those strategies can take on many forms. “My services include a lot more than traditional publicity,” she tells LionessesofAfrica.com. “One day we are doing product reviews for brands, another we are facilitating a production for a fashion campaign, and the next day we could be recruiting on behalf of a fashion brand. I found a vacuum in the industry and it’s an evolving journey for my team and I.” Opoti merged her television production career with fashion in one fell swoop after identifying a missing story that needed to be told within the topic of African design. She embarked on her mission to show that all African design isn’t African print in 2012, launching the series Designing Africa in which she spoke with emerging designers creating contemporary African designs. She also developed a 100 Days of African Fashion social media campaign. This put her on the map as a fashion influencer as she profiled a look from a different African designer each day.
A self-described advocate for African design, Opoti also works to mentor young designers through a seven-month incubator program that offers access to veterans in the creative and technical spheres of the industry. Called #YoungDesignersKenya, the initiative will create a pipeline of skilled designers each year, many of whom will be sold in Opoti’s multi-brand concept store, Designing Africa Collective. Get familiar with the names of the first set of featured designers—Steve Thairu, Nyabame Nyabiro, Cris Njoki, Terry Jonyo, and Lulu Mutuli. “When people ask me why do I see a need to wear African I’m like, ‘What else should you be wearing?’ You’re empowering a lot of businesses—not just the designer but the production behind the product, the families of the people who work on these factories, and most importantly then, the retail, so it’s a huge economic value chain that you’re contributing to,” she tells CNN African Voices.