As Fashion Cities Africa
opens this week, we speak to Nairobi’s 2manysiblings about
their contribution to Brighton’s
landmark exhibition

Brother and sister team Papa Petit and Velma Rossa are upping Nairobi’s fashion game with their curatorial platform 2manysiblings. Since launching a Tumblr in 2013 (and subsequently to IG), their horizons have grown from simply posting their looks online to acting as muses for local photographers to now becoming the voice of Kenya’s youth. Papa has styled bands including Sauti Sol and Elani. Velma has worked with the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Karen Walker and AFI fashion weeks. They’ve given Yasiin Bey a tour of their city, established their regular Thrift Social events (a fresh interpretation of Kenya’s mitumba shopping meets local arts and music) and were recently invited to the US where they took part in Yale’s Africa Salon and co-hosted a party with Everyday People.

So when the team at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery journeyed to Nairobi to research the Fashion Cities Africa exhibition – opening this week – 2manysiblings were on their must-meet list alongside designers Ann McCreath, Adèle Dejak and Ami Doshi and stylist Sunny Dolat. The duo have been commissioned to do a special shoot for the museum and will be bringing their Thrift Social to Brighton in June for a special edition. As official media partner for FCA, Nataal sits down with Papa and Velma for a chat…

Please tell us about your contribution to FCA.
We are showcasing the transitional contemporary African narrative by giving people our perspective on style through photography and the use of every digital facet available to us. We are excited about hosting the Thrift Social in Brighton and giving people an experience of all things that make Nairobi great. We hope visitors to appreciate the beauty and dynamism that is found in Africa, through its people, culture, language, food and nature.

Why did you start Thrift Social?
We wanted an engaging vehicle for young creative entrepreneurs to showcase their talents through fashion, music and art. We normally attract the urban and cool crowd in Nairobi and it's a very chilled out event. Most importantly, Thrift Social is also a channel for philanthropy where we encourage donations in form of food and clothing for the Jacaranda workshop for the mentally disabled.

Can you describe the joy of mitumba at Nairobi’s huge Gikomba market?
The mitumba culture, or thrifting, is a world of if its own. Knowing the best days when new bales arrive, early mornings for 'camera' items (best quality). The interaction with different people from the city and continent and excitement of getting a piece of clothing or shoe that is unique is such a thrill. And having excellent bargaining skills after finding that treasured item is essential. Don’t forget to try the street food and drink lots of water!

"We are showcasing the transitional
contemporary African narrative by giving
people our perspective on style"

What is 2manysiblings’ mission today?
It has evolved from us to simply documenting how we interact with our environment to being ambassadors. We have always been pro-collaborations, which has encouraged others to embrace conceptual photography and alternative modes of dress. We are always finding new ways to push ourselves beyond what we have done before.

You’ve recently worked with new Kenyan ecommerce site Ichyulu.

Yes. It sells African designer fashion so when they approached us to feature in their launch campaign we were more than happy to get involved because we are style entrepreneurs ourselves and pro-African fashion anything. Also we are looking to possibly stock our merchandise in the future so it’s a symbiotic relationship.

What’s the big picture for 2manysiblings?
We want to have an arts centre to help young people harness their full potentials to dizzying heights.

Fashion Cities Africa is at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from 30 April 2016 to 8 January 2017

Photography Sarah Marie Waiswa for Fashion Cities Africa
Migwa Nthigah for Ichyulu

Visit 2manysiblings