Stories Through Fashion: RefuSHE x Metta


Nairobi’s emerging creative community gathered together on a late Friday evening, as the five designers in Metta’s Fashion Product Lab 3.0 shared the culmination of their two-month journey to grow their skills and brand. Part of this journey was spent with five young women from RefuSHE, who were paired with the designers to create a special look for the runway. Over the past month, the designers worked closely with their muses to learn about their personal stories, goals, and dreams. They shared the design and production process with the artisans and grew to form unique mentorship relationships that carry beyond a one-time challenge. The final product was a runway outfit that represented each girl, using fashion to share her story, which she would also model in the show.

As the project was introduced, the girls–ready in the wings–bounced with jitters. But when the music started, they floated out, one by one, down the runway as if it was their own. Friday’s sleek and smooth style glided in a black cape signifying the weight of her experiences, which later revealed a floor-length navy blue gown beneath. Simegne rocked a unisex jacket with military accents, an homage to her tough and self-starter attitude. Alice stepped onto the runway in a large coat, paused, dropped the coat to show a school uniform-inspired dress, and then continued with a shining confidence. Bersherb’s striking beauty graced the runway next in a light green beaded gown that spoke to her and her late sister’s dreams of becoming a model. Solange, standing in for the fifth participant who is not able to attend public events due to security concerns, strutted boldly in a brilliant gold and blue jumpsuit that honored her strength and resilience.

After each outfit debuted on the runway, the designer stood with their muse and told the story behind it, outlining the deeper meaning in the stitches. The respect and dignity that they gave to our girls’ journeys was incredibly moving – so much so that there were a few tears in the audience! After the show ended and everyone filtered out, the girls shared a moment with their designers, who gifted them the outfits to keep.

RefuSHE is so grateful to have been chosen for this partnership with Metta and the designers of Fashion Product Lab 3.0. We are excited about the inspiring, heartfelt energy in the creative community of Nairobi, and can’t wait to see how the young women at RefuSHE will continue to contribute to an uplifting culture!