I consider myself a bit of a jacket lover. I wear them any chance I get. To weddings, on dates, and to work sometimes. I love how polished they can make me look when executed just right. So I thought I’d share with my fellow Kenyan jacket fanatics out there a guide on jacket sources I’ve come across since I began collecting. I’ve divided my guide into three sections, dependent on what your individual objective and budget may be.
Two quick caveats before I begin. This is a guide on fancy jackets. Jackets for occasions. Nothing official. No suits, no office blazers. Also, the list is limited to stores where you’re allowed to visit their actual physical locations. No purely online stores. If they don’t give me an opportunity to come and view the jackets, I don’t deal with them. So without much further ado, let’s dive right in.
Low end – I want to spend as little as possible
I’m not even going to recommend these guys. Custom made clothing in Kenya has proved quite a nightmare for me. Ill-fitting, stolen deposits, missed deadlines, you name it. I’ve had multiple bad experiences with tailors. That being said, those experiences are my own. A couple of my friends get their jackets and sports coats tailored with no issues. I’m not going to include any names here, because if things go south (and they almost always do with those guys), you’ll try to track me down and hang me. Just know that it’s an option and if you’d like to explore it. They can be found all over Instagram and Facebook.
2.Second hand- Mtush
I’ve bought one or two second-hand jackets either from Gikomba or from a small store within my neighbourhood and I liked it. I liked the unique nature and as a matter of fact, a lot of the times guys never realized it was a second-hand item. I like the quality of mtumba, problem is it can be very difficult to find a piece with the wow factor. While the quality is good, the visual element is often average at best. They tend to go for about 2,500 a piece or less, although nowadays you have some guys selling second-hand jackets at a high price than the mid-range pieces.
Now here’s the thing about Eastleigh, I wasn’t sure whether to include them in the low end or the middle. This is because a lot of businesses in town buy their jackets from Eastleigh at wholesale prices the sell them in town for a mark-up. The quality is ok. I suppose I put them in the low end because it can be quite a hustle to get your stuff from Eastleigh. It’s a jungle out there and you might have to do quite a bit of walking. And if you mistakenly happen to go over the lunch hour at 1 pm as I did, then you’ll have to wait for an hour before they re-open because most of them close for lunch. Price range: Depends on how many pieces you’re buying. In the Kshs. 3,500-4,500 range.
Somewhere in the middle – I want a jacket that looks cool
Moi Avenue and Jamia Mall.
This is where the vast majority of us buy our jackets. If you start at Imenti house and walk up all the way to Jamia Mall, you’ll find multiple shops that sell some nice jackets. I personally like Jasiri. Their stuff is cool and affordable (About Kshs. 6,500 a piece) although picking just one store might be unfair to the rest of them because they’re so many. I’ve personally bought some from Jamia mall as well as the one next to the music store along Moi Avenue. The quality is good. Like I said, a lot of them source their stuff from Eastleigh and resell, so uniqueness is an issue. I’ve seen other guys in one or two of my pieces once or twice, usually as I was in a mat headed to town. But we’re men, do we really care?
High End – I want to make a huge impression
These guys are not for everyone. As with most high-end places, they’re quite expensive. Jackets range from Kshs. 30-60k. And they never seem to have much in terms of stock. A friend of mine I consider well-off bought a jacket from them and I got the opportunity to see one first hand. It was really beautiful. The fabric was awesome. The finish was clean, and it had a number of tiny unique details that I haven’t really seen on too many other jackets. Jacket connoisseurs will love them. To be honest, in this entire article, the jacket I saw on him is the only jacket that I felt like I really fell in love with. It was like seeing a beautiful chic who was way out of your league. Unfortunately, I’m not yet at the point in my life why I can afford to spend house rent figures on a single jacket.
2.Hugo Boss and Little red
I’ve seen the stuff from these stores and they were ok. Very nice finish, fairly cool fabric. As it is always the case with high-end guys, quite expensive. The saleslady in the Little Red store in town was courteous to me, considering I probably looked like a guy who couldn’t afford their stuff. However, I did not see anything that really stood out, but then again, I’m not their target market. The same thing happened with the Hugo Boss store at Westgate. A burgundy velvet tuxedo jacket was retailing at Kshs. 82k. I may complain about that price point but the friend I was telling you about can definitely afford them. And when I asked him about Hugo Boss, he said that the jacket has to be both visually enticing as well as high in quality. He’s not going to buy a plain burgundy jacket simply because it’s a Hugo Boss, it has to jump out at him. According to him, he’s not yet old enough yet for a plain and boring look (He’s 43! Midlife crisis?..) His exact words were “Bro, if I wanted a boring look I’d just do a suit. I have to kill it when I go out man! No fooling around” Now that I think about it, most jacket connoisseurs are not really suit guys. They like to stand out.
This list is not exhaustive and I will update it as I keep looking around. If you have somewhere you buy cool jackets from, comment below. I will check them out and be sure to include them in the next update.
Paul is a man passionate about helping his fellow men look good.