By Prudence Minayo
From Prada, Brioni to Gucci, fashion enthusiasts are enamoured by these stylish luxury brands. In Kenya, local fashion brands are now taking their rightful place. They rival their counterparts in both luxury, quality, style and branding. One such brand is the Undisputed Luxury Brand (ULB), making stylish suits for both men and women. ULB is owned by Ken ‘Pope’ Ndolo, a designer par excellence whose outfits are worn by the likes of Jeff Koinange, Betty Kyalo and the list goes on.
His associates describe him as a life coach, creative, mentor and an exceptional network marketer. He won the Founder of the Year Award in 2018. Here is his story as told by WoK.
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Ken Pope had a high flying career as a runway commercial model for about 4 years. He has also worked as an events manager, and had stints in the oil and gas industry.
After a successful career in his field, he decided that fashion was the way to go.
In 2013, he started Ken Pope elegance which was meant to be an online fashion brand for both men and women. It turned out to be a very expensive venture. He needed about Sh6.5 million.
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In 2015, the University of Nairobi alumni, thought of starting a fashion brand once again. He wanted something that was easy to pronounce, and relatable to all age groups. Pooling capital from friends and family, he began with the men’s segment before branching out to the female wear. It took two weeks for the entrepreneur with a background in procurement and business information technology to come up with the name Undisputed.
After launching his brand, he received massive support from various quarters. Unlike before when most Kenyans would go for cheap suits, today they have learnt to embrace designer brands. Ken has worked with celebrities, politicians, journalists, CEOs and musicians. He has styled various prominent persons including Maqbul, Jeff Koinange, Ali Kiba, Betty Kyallo, Nick Mutuma, and Amina Abdi Rabar. His suits retail from anything between Sh15,000 to Sh250,000.
The Undisputed Man and The Undisputed Woman are the two signature brands of ULB. Their brand is aimed at helping people express themselves by looking approachable, powerful and intimidating, and feel their best.
Pope has also been featured as a judge at the JW show alongside Betty Kyallo and Jane Sempeo. The show is aimed at connecting Africa and the world through fashion and design.
In a 2018 interview with Ebru TV, Ken ‘Pope’ Ndolo revealed that his dream was to establish a fashion and design school.