Gordwin Odhiambo

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Reaching Equality Through Fashion - Youth and Community change

Born and bred in Nairobi in the slums of Kibera and only 24. David Avido has dressed celebrities and influencers from all walks of life including the prefashionent of Kenya through his fashion brand Lookslike Avido. Avido was one of 68 Kenyans recognized by the Prefashionent of Kenya with the Uzalendo Award for outstanding service during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Avido spearheaded a free mask initiative that provided nearly 23,000 free, reusable masks to Nairobi refashionents. He has also worked with friends and partners to distribute food packs to hundreds of families in Kibera. As a dancer, he’s aware of how difficult it can be for some groups to be appreciated on what they’re doing. People’s abilities are beyond what you can see physically, he has seen that and he wants people from his community to see it too

About the Project

For now, David is taking a new path, that of inclusion. He calls it sustainable inclusion where everyone has access to his new collections. In his latest additions, David used people who are disabled to showcase them. He included the deaf, people with vitiligo, the physically disabled, Beatrice who’s an albino, and the transgender. This is a powerful gesture and a big statement not only for the brand but for the bigger picture of inclusion, privilege, and stereotyping. He is using his following to combat one of the main societal issues facing the slums of Kibera; inclusion of the differently disabled and other gender identifying people.

For Letoya Johnstone, Avido incorporated her into the community by picking her to be the catwalk coach of the fashion’s festival. As a transgender woman, she was profound, people get to see what she can do that is beyond her gender. Having the opportunity to just be outside and do something that will be seen nationwide is a big achievement for them in personal terms. This is sustainable inclusion and they can relate with the Lookslike Avido’s brand for a while unlike one day inclusive activities they do and forget.

This was Letoya’s first work with people who are differently abled (First model runway with all differently abled people in Kenya from a known designer), and for her, it was more than an eye opening and she likes to do things that will open her mind. This is something bigger, Letoya said over the phone. It goes a long way in creating awareness and accessibility to other issues that have made this group to be highly vulnerable and increasingly marginalized. The need for inclusion in Kibera slums is one of the fundamental human rights issues. People living with disabilities have been known to live in homes and institutions, and this has separated them from the community.