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Afroshoes Nyala sneaker collection by Kenyan designer Emo Rugene

Afroshoes is a Kenyan shoe brand founded by Kenyan designer Emo Rugene. According to the founder, the brand originated out of a yearning to create fashionable everyday shoes that Kenyans would identify with. Since, the brand has grown to spread into other markets, making it global.

“The brand exemplifies the development and advancement in Industry that Africa is currently undergoing,” says Rugene. “Afroshoes, through its collection(s), confirms that the African industry is indeed at par with the rest of the world”.

Afroshoes’ latest sneaker collection Nyala, an Amharic word meaning Gazelle, pays tribute to the beauty, elegance and agility of this animal—features central to the design process.

Designed in Berlin, the collection is 100% made in the continent with materials sourced between Kenya and Ethiopia.

“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 collection is also influenced by the vibrancy and eclectic nature of Nairobi where I grew up, and cutting borders, the production of Nyala is in Addis Abeba, ‘The New Flower,’” says designer Rugene.

Each piece in the collection is produced with a unique touch representing an element in the savannah, and offering 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. This gives it an authentic feel.

Partnering with a production house guaranteeing world-class finish that matches any top brand in the world, Nyala is produced in a factory in Ethiopia that employs over 300 Ethiopian workers and has the capacity of producing 1,500 pairs a day.

Additionally, developing the linkage between Ethiopia-Kenya production industries, the customized unique shoe bags are hand-made by a community-based organization in Nairobi called Seed of Hope. Seed of Hope is a training programme for destitute youth, mainly girls who have not had the opportunity to attend secondary school.

The collection, unisex and available in three colors, is dubbed ‘an intercity shoe’ –an embodiment of intercity and multi-culturally inspired footwear cutting across three capital cities.

With the Nyala collection, the voice that Afroshoes is aiming for is one of “buying Africa and building Africa”, and to take away the stereotypical view of Africa as a continent ravaged by disease, draught and war.

At this time, Afroshoes has completed the sampling process and is currently crowed funding through its Kickstarter campaign to get the production of the Nyala sneaker collection going. To support this production initiative, follow the link, here.


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