Most of us have accepted COVID-19 face masks as an inconvenient, albeit necessary, safety measure. For the style conscious like James Maina Mwangi, however, they are an unmissable fashion opportunity.
Mwangi’s brightly coloured suits and hats made him stand out even on the busy streets of Nairobi’s Umoja neighbourhood, where nobody ever seems to sleep.
Since the pandemic hit and Kenya made face masks mandatory, his outfits have become even more eye-catching. This week, the 59-year-old jack of all trades modelled his collection of face masks for Reuters.
Kenyan fashionista James Maina Mwangi walks along a street as he displays his attire comprising at least 160 suits with matching accessories including a mask to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, near his residence in Nairobi, Kenya July 30, 2020.
“Men knew how to wear clothes in black, brown, grey or dark blue. Those were men’s colours,” he told Reuters while wearing a bright yellow suit with matching hat and face mask. “God gave me wisdom and showed me all the different colours I can wear to be different from everybody else.”
Mwangi, who dropped out of school at 12 because he could not pay the fees, said he only had one shirt when he was a child, which he would wash it daily and put on still damp.
ALSO SEE | PHOTOS: Face mask fashion reaches Kenya’s Nairobi amid Covid-19
People would laugh at him, but he promised himself that “one day I will be a star.”
James Maina Mwangi poses for a photograph as he displays his attire comprising at least 160 suits with matching accessories including a mask to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection at his residence in Nairobi, Kenya July 30, 2020.
He now has about 160 suits, over 200 pairs of shoes, and 300 hats in colours ranging from saffron yellow to grass green, scarlet and plum. Mwangi said his clothes drew curiosity, then admirers when he first started wearing them 25 years ago.
“Now you can see me wearing all kinds of colours,” he said.
Mwangi, who earns a living as a jack of all trades, says he lends his suits to members of his church and street children who need them.
A combination picture shows Kenyan fashionista James Maina Mwangi posing as he displays his attire comprising at least 160 suits with matching accessories including a mask to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection at his residence in Nairobi, Kenya July 30, 2020.
“Things have become harder now because of COVID-19. This country has no money,” he said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter
- Residents blame Ludhiana MC for ignoring fogging
- Mumbai: Two missing after a fishing boat carrying 13 fishermen capsizes
- Theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi who trained Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri dies at 94
- Won’t spare any politician or public servant found complicit in hooch tragedy: Punjab CM
- Nitish Kumar recommends CBI probe in Sushant case, sets up a new row
- Covid-19: Indigenous Australian group blocks Uluru access route over pandemic fears
- Covid-19 will disappear with blessings of Lord Ram, says Shiv Sena ahead of ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony
- Kolkata airport operations will be suspended for 7 days in August due to Bengal lockdown
- Coronavirus lockdown study reports surge in health anxieties
- HC adjourns virtual hearings after heavy rainfall in Mumbai, hearings postponed to Wednesday
- Congress again reaches out to rebel Rajasthan MLAs, lists its only condition
- Kareena Kapoor, Kajol, Alia Bhatt, Tara Sutaria dress to impress for Rakhi 2020
- Early indicators of economic activity in July show improvement over June: Nomura
- Tripura CM in home quarantine after two family members test Covid positive
- Aam Aadmi Party to restructure Delhi unit with an eye on municipal polls: Gopal Rai