Media personalities especially news anchors in Kenya are known to have good taste when it comes to fashion. Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan are a power couple who co-host Nipashe Wikendi show on Citizen TV and often don matching outfits when going live on air.
In this article, WoK brings you the story George Ouma, the personal designer of the first couple to co-host a news programme among other big names.
George Ouma comes from a humble background. He was raised his mother after his father died in 1999 when he was only 9 years old.
He dropped out of school since his mother could not afford to educate 10 children all by herself. His late father was a tailor and Ouma had learnt the trade from him early in life.
He started tailoring at Kibuye market in Kisumu before moving to Eldoret where he was employed at his cousin’s tailoring shop. During a past interview with the Standard, he revealed that he would make shirts for Ksh1 a piece.
“I’d make shirts for Ksh 1 apiece. Cheap shirts that tear as you put them on. The shirts were called Korea. I would make about 160 Korean pieces a day to survive until I said enough is enough. I told my mother the work was too hard for me,” he told the Standard.
After quitting the job he engaged in other hustles including being a bodaboda rider.
“There was even a time when I was a boda boda operator. I fell a lot of passengers because I was young (13 years old) and couldn’t ride the bike properly,” he narrated.
He quit the job and relocated to Kiserian in Kajiado County where he worked for another tailor. He worked for a while but since he was young and hadn’t learnt everything about sewing, his career there was short-lived.
Establishing G-Jey Mavazi
He later on moved to Makini, Kibera in 2005 where he met friends who contributed money to help him establish his own fashion store.
He signed up for a designer’s fashion show and participants loved his work which led him to receive many calls and referrals.
Through participating in those events, he was able to build G-Jey Mavazi as a brand and meet the likes of Larry Madowo who went on to become his biggest client giving a breakthrough of his career.
“I met Larry Madowo at a fashion showcase. I stepped up to him and asked if I could dress him. We exchanged contacts and I didn’t think about it for some time until one day I decided to reach out to him. He picked a design he wanted me to make and I said I could do it. He asked how, since I didn’t have his measurements, but I crossed my fingers, looked at his pictures online and estimated his size, and when I sent it to him, it fit perfectly. That’s how I became his designer,” he explained.
Working with Larry Madowo opened up many doors for him in terms of getting prominent clients. That’s how he met Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla and was tasked with making their bespoke suits.
George Ouma designs has led Lulu to win the Couture Africa Most Stylish Female TV & Radio Personality Award in October 2020.
However it is important to note that the power couple also work with other designers such as Yvonne Odhiambo of Afrostreet collection and Bray Brighton Okuto of Cittifficial Klothing.