When Kenyan Connie Aluoch ’02 was working on her BFA in Fashion Design, she had a life-changing internship with the Ground Crew. Working with the highly respected fashion show management firm headed by Audrey Smaltz, Aluoch says, “I saw what she was doing backstage—dressing models, working with magazine editors, and I thought, ‘Why can’t I do this back home?’”
After graduating, she returned to Kenya. She networked “at every fashion week in Africa,” and was appointed the youngest editor of Cosmopolitan Kenya. The publication folded after two years, but she persisted as a stylist, earning a master’s in fashion styling at the Instituto Marangoni in Milan. In 2011, she launched Connie Aluoch Styling Management.
Today, her company employs two assistants and three social media managers. She writes a weekly column for The Nairobian, discussing fashion questions and highlighting local designers like Yvonne Odhiambo of Afrostreet Collections. Aluoch is also resident stylist for KTN, the Kenya Television Network. She dresses the station’s 50 anchors and reporters in clothes from Turkey, London, and the U.S. (Her style for TV personalities tends to be, she says, more “western,” for broader appeal.)
In September, Aluoch gave a talk at FIT and discussed her work, which also includes advertising campaigns for the fashion company Truworth’s. Working in Kenya can be difficult, she acknowledged. She wants to start an accessories line, but the country lags in manufacturing capacity. Her ambition, however, remains undaunted: “I want to build up the fashion industry in Kenya.”