MEET CLAUDIA KIMANI AND ZANELLE WANJA
The Co-Founders of Àzana Collective share a common dream: to create a luxury fashion brand to showcase their unique vision and celebrate Kenya's rich cultural heritage. They decided to combine their talents and develop a line of beautiful, high-quality bags that would be both functional and stylish.
FROM COSTUME DESIGNER TO ENTREPRENEUR
Claudia is a graduate of Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been passionate about art and fashion since childhood (making outfits for her dolls using scrap fabric collected from her mother's workshop, who was also a fashion designer). One day after conducting extensive research and perfecting her craft through thorough practice, she made her first bag and realised that there was a market for statement bags like hers.
In 2019, she launched her first handbag collection, Claudia K. Claudia's exquisite collection comprised totes, duffels, wash bags and laptop bags. She built her way to the top. She was hiring local artisans, investing in state-of-the-art machinery, expanding workshop space, and buying materials in bulk.
Her brand Claudia K was a huge success. She has been featured in several local media publications like KTN, and her brand was stocked in international online concept stores and famous pop-ups in Nairobi.
FROM ECONOMIST TO FASHION BUSINESS
Zanelle Wanja is a Masters's Graduate in Fashion Business, Economist, Entrepreneur and Travel Photographer (@thandotravels). Art and fashion have always been a passion she held throughout her childhood till now, through her photography, painting and graphic design. However, she has always loved Science, making her analytical and creative.
Studying for her Bachelor's in Economics in the UK gave her the tools to venture into Business; along the way, she wanted to become an Entrepreneur. Living abroad for four years opened her mind to endless possibilities, experiences and travel. The merge between travel photography, which she practised alongside her Bachelor's Degree, birthed the idea of starting a fashion brand focusing on travel products. That was in 2019.
When the pandemic hit and content creation became huge, Zanelle realised she could use her existing social media platforms to promote destinations in Kenya. This led to her collaborating with luxury hotels in Kenya and globally and being featured in news & media publications such as Visit Dubai.
For Claudia and Zanelle, the creation of Àzana Collective is more than just a business venture – a labour of love that celebrates their shared passion for beauty, art, and culture. They are committed to supporting local artisans, promoting sustainability and preserving Kenya's rich cultural heritage, and they are proud to share their vision with the world.
KENYA IS OUR CANVAS
Drawing inspiration from Kenya's natural beauty, as well as its vibrant colors and patterns, Claudia and Zanelle worked tirelessly to bring their vision to life. They traveled throughout the country, meeting with local artisans and sourcing the finest materials, including luxurious cow leather and beautiful, hand-woven fabrics.
The result is a stunning collection of luxury bags that are both beautiful and functional, with intricate details and bold designs that reflect Kenya's diverse and vibrant culture. From the sleek and sophisticated to the bold and colorful, there is a bag to suit every taste and occasion.
IMAGE COURTESY OF RAJVIR SOIN, A KENYAN TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER & FILMMAKER
Claudia and Zanelle Co-design the bags by researching fashion trends and analysing future purchasing patterns. Claudia designs the collection whilst Zanelle researches. Together they make adjustments based on colour, material, functionality, etc.
We source all our materials in-house with our dedicated and brilliant staff looking for the finest materials ethically sourced and produced in Kenya. The two primary materials used are leather, which we source from three tanneries in Kenya and brassware. We also use sisal, beadwork, cotton canvas and cotton thread. We recently partnered with a local brass artisan to create our brass hardware, ensuring quality and longevity.
Our workshop, located in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, is home to a team of 6 talented craftsmen and women who are highly skilled in leather bag production. We meticulously transform locally sourced raw materials using state-of-the-art machinery into stunning bags ready for sale.
Our beautiful products are available on our E-Commerce and Kenyan multi-brand stores, ARRAI. We ship worldwide with DHL Express. Our goal is to expand to international multi-brand stores.
MEET THE TEAM
ÀZANA IN THE PRESS
We were privileged to showcase our products to Her Excellency, The First Lady of the Prime Minister of Spain, Maria Begoña Gómez Fernández, at KWFT Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. In March 2022, we participated at The Gifting Suites by the renowned Dubois Pelin & Associates for the 94th Academy Oscar Awards. We represented Kenyan brands at the Expo 2020 Dubai under the Kenyan Pavilion and the Dubai Exhibition Centre. We were also invited to The Cannes Film Festival in France in June 2022 under the African Gifting Suite.
ÀZANA MEANS ULTIMATE
With their eye for detail and commitment to quality, Claudia and Zanelle have created a brand that is sure to impress even the most discerning fashion lovers. Whether you are looking for a statement piece to complete your outfit, or a functional and stylish bag for everyday use, Àzana is the ultimate perfect choice.
We are a Slow Fashion brand whose products are exclusively sourced from Kenya. We aim to continue delivering exceptional products while supporting fair trade practices and sustainable fashion. We're proud to be part of an ethical fashion movement that contributes to the social development of local artisans.
Join us in championing local Kenyan artisans and contributing to a more sustainable fashion industry.
Clay City, Off Thika Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm
Saturday, 9am - 2pm