Kenyan Designer Brings African Bead Fashion To The Runways of New York

by African Beads on February 20, 2011

2009 was a very big year for Kenya-born jewelry artist Nasimiyu Wekesa.


Large Mali Wedding Beads

Not only did she receive a feature-spread within several notable publications – she also enjoyed the exposure of her creations at New York’s ‘Couture’ Fashion Week that same year.

Nasimiyu has been living in the United States for the past fifteen years, yet much of her heart still belongs to Africa. Every aspect of her jewelry, which ranges from chunky, focal African trade bead necklaces; to delicate multi-strand collars featuring an infusion of Christmas and Kazuri beads, is designed befitting of the elegance of African women. She has a particular fascination with Kenyan beads.

Describing her bead creations as “an extension of her soul”, Nasimiyu’s childhood collection of Mali wedding beads, and Venetian trade beads is a wonder to behold. She describes the significance behind her collection as akin to the “history of her life”. Each bead or bead string has been gifted unto her, or a member of her family, and are regarded as part and parcel of the rites throughout life. These include coming of age, betrothal to a husband, marriage and family planning. “I am bringing back the path of the answers of life together, by stringing their past to the present.”

The achievement of her jewelry featuring alongside the haute couture creations of acclaimed designer Andres Aquino, has been well worth the self-confessed toils until 12a.m of a morning. Yet Nasamiyu’s motivations go far deeper than just reaping the rewards and recognition that personal success brings.

She is a staunch supporter, and ambassador of the Born To Aid Foundation – (which she herself founded) and continues to support by donating 10% of her profits, on a month-by-month basis. Set up to improve the lives of children afflicted by Aids, or having experienced the loss of a relative due to the disease; Nasamiyu hopes that the recognition she receives will further highlight the vital work that still needs to be done in Kenya.

Since her showcase in 2009, Nasimiyu has been reaping the benefits of the exposure, and creating more stunning pieces of African inspired jewelry. To her, this is not simply a fundraising drive, nor just a means to a living. It’s about maintaining the love and connection with her Kenyan homeland, and weaving a part of it’s history into every piece she makes!

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  • chunky bead necklaces

    This is
    the great blog, I’m reading them for a while, thanks for the new posts!

  • Friendship Bracelets

    Nice information about Kenyon Beads.I fell in love with these beads and other African beads after a trip to Ghana and love creating bold and colorful jewelry.

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