Friday, November 9, 2012


By Eva Fydrych

From Galliano to ethical fashion in Kenya

Swahili skirt (Photo courtesy of Severine)

KENYA - African label Severine was created by a French designer and John Galliano's ex-assistant Severine Devailly in 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya. Severine, a talented young woman who is not afraid to follow her dreams, is a self-taught designer and also a successful model.

Severine creates effortless yet beautiful and sophisticated designs that are a modern interpretation of Africa. The label aspires to convey the traditional splendor of the Kenyan fabric Kikoy* into contemporary and graceful ethical fashion. All pieces are comfortable and easy to wear, and feature an updated version of traditional African prints.

Severine's inspiration board (Photos courtesy of Severine)

"I tried to create a beachwear collection that you can accessorize with funky belts and jewels in order to transform your beach dress into an evening gown." - says Severine Devailly about her latest collection.

Severine's inspiration comes from travelling (especially across the African continent and places like Mombasa where she currently lives), "effortless chic" designs by Stella McCartney and Lalesso, geometric patterns by MaxMara and Yves Saint Laurent, and colourful Kikoy fabrics and traditional African clothing.

Africa Fashion Week, London 2012 (Photo courtesy of Severine)

Severine aims for responsible fashion and chooses to work ethically; the brand supports PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and doesn't use leather, feathers or fur. The company also employs local artisans in order to perpetuate the raw African talents, they create rings and key rings for the label.

In August 2012, Severine showcased her collection at Africa Fashion Week in London and received a very posotive feedback. The label has been featured in many online and print fashion magazines including Vogue UK.

Upendo skirt (Photo courtesy of Severine)

Kidogo mini dress (Photo courtesy of Severine)

Fedha shoulder bag (Photo courtesy of Severine)

Barafu scarf (Photo courtesy of Severine)

Kahava scarf (Photo courtesy of Severine)


Each Severine handbag comes packed in a unique cotton bag to prevent damages and stains. It includes a cute flower made of recycled plastic bottle (PET) collected on the streets and beaches of Mombasa.

*KIKOY - is an African fabric which is used as a multi-purpose material for furniture covers, towels, shirts for men, and African dresses for women.

"The beautiful ethnic fabric I am using, the Kikoy, will always bring sunshine and rainbows to your cupboards. I love seeing my studio full of this stunning fabric; it is so colourful and unique." - says Severine.

Colourful Kikoy fabrics (Photo courtesy of Permille)


As a true French woman, Severine Devailly always had a passion for fashion. At only 18, she was immersed in the fashion world whilst working for the fabulous British designer John Galliano in the heart of Paris. She then moved to the United Kingdom in 2003 and to Kenya at 21 after spending holidays in this incredible country. Not only she fell in love with Kenya but also with it's amazing vibrant and glowing fashion.

Her main inspirations are the colorful fabrics she is using such as her favourite one: the Kikoy, and also her travels from Africa to Europe. Severine is also a model, speaks three languages, has a French diploma in small business management and in English & French literature.
Source: Severine

Model Severine Devailly

Read more about the designer: SEVERINE - BLOG

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