Ethnic background: Kenyan
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Twitter/IG: Facebook: @the_black_muse; @theblackmuse
Weapon of choice: “An amazing pair of heels and a killer hairdo”
Go-to accessory: watch
“If feel like a Hollywood star whenever I throw on my black waterfall coat. It gives me Kim K when I glam it up, Olivia Pope when I wear it to work and some Kendall Jenner when I dress it down.“
“My name’s not Pac, but it’s a 100% guarantee, that when I step out with my pencil dress and heels all eyes on me.“
Coming straight out of Nairobi, Kenya, Winnie Namiinda is bent on blogging her way right to the top of the African fashion scene. But with style this fab, the young fashion star can’t help but make plans to take her talent to an international level, all while continuing to serve justice as a human rights attorney. Because, who says you can’t catch criminals, win cases and be a super dope fashion slayer?
Your style is very minimal, but fierce at the same time. Where does your fashion inspiration come from?
Art inspires my style a lot, my mood and how I want to express myself. I am also inspired a lot by the ’60s style; it was very polished and simple. I love the blogger Karla Deras as well, she has mastered the art of simplicity and creativity and constantly reminds us that fashion is art.
What’s your BIGGEST source of fashion inspiration?
My biggest source of fashion inspiration at the moment is definitely Pinterest. I not only follow fashion, but art and photography as well, which have a huge impact on how I express myself through my style. I love how I can get to see different styles from different people all over the world and incorporate what I like.
I see some flicks of you wearing Ankara print, how big of an impact has your culture made on your sense of fashion?
My culture has had a huge impact on my sense of fashion! The African culture in general is vibrant and bold. And as much as black is my go-to color, I always find ways of incorporating color, print and jewelry in my day-to-day dressing.
Any celebs whose style you admire?
I admire Kate Moss, she is one of the first fashion personalities that I fell in love with when I was growing up. Her style is simple but still makes a statement and she definitely made me embrace and feel sexy in a basic tee, jeans and heels. I admire Rihanna’s style. I like her attitude, how she is free to express herself through her style with no apologies and definitely how she pushes the envelope when it comes to fashion. I also admire Victoria Beckham; she is simple, effortless, and at the same time, a chic trendsetter.
I see on your IG profile that you’re a lawyer. What kind of law do you practice?
My main focus is human rights law and humanitarian law. I work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UN Refugee agency). As a lawyer there I work with the department that offers refugees legal protection.
What schools did you graduate from?
I did my undergraduate studies at The University of Nairobi and then did my pre-bar training at the Kenya School of Law before taking my bar exams.
Since fashion isn’t your main focus, I’m curious to know what fashion and style mean to you? How important is fashion in your life?
I have always loved art since I was young and as I grew older, I was drawn more into fashion. Fashion to me is an art form; it is how I am able to express myself and I can be anything I want to be.
Fashion is important because how I dress gives people a glimpse of who I am before I speak. It is important to me because how I present myself in front of people matters; be it at the work place, parties, or in other avenues. After all, dressing well is a form of good manners, as Tom Ford said.
You also blog about fashion. Tell me how you got into that.
I have always loved fashion, and [when I entered The University of Nairobi], I tried starting two different fashion projects with friends but we never pursued them because work and school conflicted with them. I still wanted to get into fashion so I thought of ways where I could get into fashion but still be able to manage it with my law career. I wanted something that I could do part time and it would not conflict with my work schedule, so a blog is what popped into my head. I figured it was the easiest platform at the time to venture into the fashion industry and be able to grow step-by-step and that is when TheBlackMuse was born.
What are you goals as a fashion blogger? Where do you see this going?
I would like to eventually have a column at any magazine, national or international; either for fashion advice, or giving reviews. I would like to start my own fashion and beauty magazine in Kenya. We have a few and that market still has room for more. I also love styling and I hope that this platform will expose me to styling opportunities; and lastly, I would definitely love to collaborate with some of my favorite brands, national or international. I hope to cover more African designers on my blog and be part of showcasing African fashion and get more exposure beyond Kenya.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
I love Olivier Rousteing (Balmain’s current head), he reminds me so much of Alexander McQueen. His work is quite daring and unique and well-constructed especially his blazers. I love Victoria Beckham, simple and polished, Dior and Stella Jean who reinvented African fashion.
How long does it usually take you to get dressed in the morning?
One and a half hours to two hours (I like to take my time).
In your opinion, what makes an outfit hot?
What makes an outfit hot is definitely confidence. You may have a killer outfit on but if the way you feel doesn’t match the way you look, then that’s not good. Feeling good and looking good go hand-in-hand.
What makes you a ‘fashion killa’?
What makes me a fashion killa is the fact that I have come to understand my body and what works for me. I have come to be confident in my style and express it with no apologies. I understand what makes me feel good and sexy and I go for it without fear.
Now watch her work! Go to the next pages for a glimpse at some of Winnie’s fiercest looks!