Zede’Kiah Lukoye: From Selling Mitumba In Nairobi To Dressing Celebrities In New York

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Zedekiah Lokole: From Selling Mitumba In Nairobi To Dressing Celebrities In New York
Zedekiah Lokole Photo/Courtesy

The story of Zede’Kiah Lukoye, popularly known as Zeddy Loky, is a classic example of what comes out of chasing ones dream. It is proof that indeed anyone can rise from the very bottom and ultimately achieve anything they so desire. He sold mitumba clothes in Kenyatta market and through hard work on to establish a successful fashion brand that dresses celebrities and billionaires in New York.

Here is his inspiring story as told by WoK.

Zedekiah Lukoye Journey

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Loky was born and raised in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. Since he was a kid he had an interest in the fashion world and so when he was in high school, he began buying second hand clothes and selling to his friends and fellow students at a profit. After clearing his secondary school education, he relocated to Nairobi where he joined a group of young individuals in Kinoo and learnt how to do tailoring. Together with his friends, they would buy second hand clothes especially jeans then tailor them to the fitting size the millennial love before selling the outfits at Kenyatta market. He would then do the business for several years before he finally got the capital to start his own fashion shop.

Also Read: Brian Kisimba: The Nairobi Based Tailor Who Charges Sh350,000 For A Suit

Establishing a Fashion Shop And The Big Break

He would then establish a fashion shop under the brand name Blackbird Jeans. His uniquely tailored jeans quickly gained fame and he soon started working with Kenyan celebrities. The price of his jeans rose from Ksh 500 to Ksh 2000. His big break finally came in 2011 when he got an opportunity to showcase his designs at the 2011 edition of the Blankets and Wine Festival in Nairobi. At the event, he was introduced by one of his celebrity clients to a fashion buyer from New York who was impressed by his work and invited him to attend the New York Fashion Week. He attended the event in 2012 and had the opportunity to intern with Alexander Nash – a mega fashion brand in America where he got employed immediately after completing his internship.

Establishing Narok NYC and Success

He worked for the company for one year before he quit to establish Narok NYC in 2013. Within a short period of time, Narok NYC outfits had become a statement brand for young, rich black Americans in New York. He has since dressed several American rapper under the Roc Nation Brunch– a hip-hop, sports and entertainment event owned by Jay Z. Other celebrities he has worked with before include NBA Star Anthony Carmelo, model Tyson Beckford and Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri among many others. He sources his fabric from Italy and Turkey’s finest millers making his brands quality and authentic. Currently, a suit from Narok NYC will cost someone up to Ksh 200,000. He also runs an organization named ‘Blkburd Genes’ which is involved in charity activities in Africa.

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Also Read: Mwangi wa Mercedes: From Selling Mitumba To Owning Successful Car Dealership

The Controversy

In April 2021, one of his t-shirt outfits named Lamu was on the spot for the wrong reasons in Kenya. This happened after Jay Z was spotted wearing in the t-shirt while leaving a nightclub in California. The Lamu T-shirt features a picture of Riyadha Mosque which is one of the oldest mosques in Lamu. The management of the mosque came out guns blazing stating that the design was used inappropriately and demanded an apology from Loky.

“We don’t consider this an honor, nor a privilege, for the historical mosque and its founder Habib Swaleh for its imagery to be portrayed in such a way. Bars and Clubs are an affront to the spiritual respect and dignity of the mosque, its founder, to the congregation, and the general Muslim community within and outside Lamu,” read a part of the statement issued by Abubakar Badawy who is the Secretary General of Riyadha Mosque and Islamic Centre.

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