Meet Nairobi Tailor Making Jackets Worth Ksh2 Million

  • Bespoke suits
    Bespoke suits
    File
  • When you think of men suits, do you think opulence, luxury and exclusivity? Well, one Kenyan is selling the best bespoke and made-to-measure suits that a man can buy right here in Nairobi.

    Brian Kisimba has made Nairobi home to one of the best hand-crafted bespoke suits - so-called because they are made for a particular customer and his clientele is the top echelon of Kenya's society.

    Inspired by London's Savile Row, Mayfair, Kisimba clients pay as much as Ksh350,000 a piece for their jackets and some end up spending Ksh2 million.

    He told a local publication that his rich clients are very particular about their taste and they don't mind spending a fortune to feel good. 

    Caliber Bespoke director Brian Kisimba
    Caliber Bespoke director Brian Kisimba
    Daily Nation

    “A suit is more than an assembly of clothes, it’s a marker of identity. It says who you are and what your values are without you having to describe it yourself,” he stated.

    The fabrics, buttons, linings and zippers are acquired from Italy and England from places such as James Hardinge, Holland & Sherry, Georgia Gullini, Vitale Barberis Canonico and Milano Exclusive.

    He noted that when sourcing for fabric and lining he checks their properties. He checks whether they are breathable, can the fabric keep clients cool when warm and vice versa. 

    Unlike made-to-measure, bespoke suits are on a lane of their own. The fabrics and tailoring are made with precise attention to detail.

    “You select the fabric, and perhaps lining for made-to-measure suits. Then the tailor uses pre-existing patterns for the construction and adjusts according to the client. However, in bespoke, we do everything from scratch. The number of measurements informs the perfection of the fit.

    “We don’t jump into the fabrics. We sit and talk because it's an investment. A person buying our suits isn’t looking for a suit for the next couple of business deals. It’s more of an object of pleasure than a necessity because they’re already wearing Brioni or Canali,” Kisimba explained.

    The suit comes with a manual that gives clients pairing tips for accessories and Kisimba's company calls after six months to make sure the suit still fits right.

    Kisimba went through a seven-month apprenticeship in the UK. He began as a trimmer, then a runner and ultimately learnt the secrets of British tailoring.

    After his stint at Maurice Sedwell, one of the finest sartorial houses located on Savile Row, which makes suits for the Royal Family members, Kisimba returned home and he wanted to execute what he had learnt.

    “The biggest hurdle was convincing people that the product would match the quality they were getting abroad,” Kisimba remarked.

    Then the pandemic hit and the world was locked down. According to the fashion guru, he got referrals from Saville Row.

    Although he refrains from advertising his client list, Kisimba counts President Uhuru Kenyatta among his clients. He also does not rely on social media to market his business rather he sends out sealed hand-signed letters to clients.  

    “We are not on Instagram or active social media because our main client base isn’t there,” he stated.

    A Caliber Bespoke suit
    A Caliber Bespoke suit
    File