All images by Osborne Macharia. Used with Creative Commons permission.
After featuring a handful of work showing daily life around Africa, it’s time for us to go deeper into its pockets of culture that most of us rarely see. Today’s featured project by Nairobi-based Osborne Macharia is an colorful inspiration for both fans and practitioners of fashion photography. If you liked his vibrant portraits of an old school hip hop heads who call themselves Kabangu, this new project by Osborne will definitely catch your eye. Aside from its cheeky title, The Return of the Rude-Boy is a showcase of Nairobi’s ghetto fashion scene and careful balance of bright colors.
The project is a beautiful collaboration with fashion stylist and set designer Kevo Abbra, whose father also served as the inspiration for the shoot. According to Osborne, Kevo’s father was a fashion visionary who rallied his friends and colleagues to brighten the tailoring industry in the ghetto. To do this, they fused their own designs with readily available pieces and collections sourced from thrift stores.
Every now and then, his former friends and colleagues would set up tribute shows for Kevo’s father around Nairobi’s neighborhoods, modeling their latest creations. The Return of the Rude-Boy features the dapper collection inspired by the “Rude Boy” street style during their tribute show in Kibera.
I find this project very interesting not only for the fashion element, but also the equally colorful story behind the project. Osborne also mentioned in his description that little is known about this group of fashion designers. But with this work, that’s probably going to change. If his goal was to catch the eye, incite inspiration, and create curiosity about these creative individuals and their story of resourcefulness, I’m sure Osborne is already on his way to succeeding.
Watch a behind the scenes video by Kevo Abbra of how the shoot went down, in case you’re curious: