A Kenyan Designer and Tailor with the FLAP Bag

This is part of an ongoing series of posts on the FLAP bag project, a collaborative effort by Timbuk2, Portable Light and Pop!Tech. We at AfriGadget are helping to field-test these bags that have solar power and lighting on them, and get interviews of the individuals using them.

Stephen Omollo and Erik Hersman

Jericho Market is a small market tucked away behind the industrial area in Nairobi, Kenya – near to Buruburu. It’s where you can find a lot of artisans who work on cloth-based projects, from clothes to bags and everything in between. I took off with David Ngigi, a local videographer friend of mine, to see who we could find. I brought two of the unstitched bags, two Portable Light kits and one completed bag as a sample.

The first person we spent time with was Joseph Muteti, a soft-spoken, 18-year veteran of the tailor trade in Nairobi. He specializes in making school bags for children and messenger-type bags. His bags are generally sturdy, with an added flair of embroidery to set them off for his customers.

Next up was Stephen Omollo, an energetic young designer who works on textiles ranging from shirts to bags. Style and usability are both important to Stephen, and his primary desire is to create items that people are proud to wear.

Interestingly, both Stephen and Joseph thought the bags were too large. Stephen wanted to cut in half, and Joseph by about a third.

Joseph Muteti - a tailor in Kenya

3 comments » Write a comment

  1. Bike couriers’ bags always seem enormous, especially if you compared them to a child’s satchel. I’d guess normal adults would then fit in somewhere in between.

  2. Slightly off-topic, but a Jamaican friend shared this photo with me: http://goo.gl/RQyMz. In fact I think the principle has some mileage for very simple bags, if we improve on it here in Kenya 🙂