The Kenya Forum | The 'Nairobi man', Kenyan men spend as much on clothes as women - The Kenya Forum

July 6, 2013


The ‘Nairobi man’, Kenyan men spend more on clothes than women. Surveys suggest that men’s spending on fashion items growing.

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The ‘Nairobi man’, Kenyan men spend as much on clothes as women

The ‘Nairobi man’, Kenyan men spend as much on clothes as women

When Ipsos Synovate, in partnership with Kiko Romeo and Festival of African Fashion (FAFA), released the findings of a survey on lifestyle and a fashion poll earlier this week, many people were so taken with one result of the studies, that most men were more impressed by women in dresses/skirts, that they failed to give a thought to a perhaps more interesting finding in the same survey: Kenya’s urban man spends as much on shopping as women do.

59 in every 100 men prefer women to be dressed in dresses and skirts compared to trousers, according to the study but it also revealed that the Nairobi man works hard at, and spends lots on, looking good too.


Traditionally, women are considered to care more about their image more. Men, it was once believed, only buy new clothes on the occasion when they really have to. The modern man however, has risen above this fallacy and takes personal grooming as a very essential part of life. Nowadays, Kenyan men even go for manicures and facial scrubs, something that was seen as reserved for women.

Unlike in the past, where clothes store would stock more of women clothes and few for men, today we have as many shops for men’s clothes as those catering for women. Have you, for instance, taken a good look in the exhibitions taking up most of the business space in CBD?


Well, looks like this trend witnessed in Kenyan men cuts across globally. According to a research conducted a year ago by a British firm Npower, modern men actually spend more money on impulse buys than women.

But just what exactly has led to the lofty fetish for grooming witnessed in the urban modern man?


According to fashionista Eric Dee, who serves as an officer at Machakos County Governor’s office, the urban man is indeed spending more time on his appearance because self grooming gives a man an edge when it comes to getting attention, especially from women.

“Ladies are more attracted to well-groomed guys. A dude’s appearance will go further in attracting the people around them even at the workplace”, says Dee, adding that the attention created and the compliments received definitely go along way in boosting a man’s ego and self esteem.


The media continues to be the leading source of influence when it comes to fashion and as Eric Dee also acknowledges, most of what he wears is influenced by trends featured on e fashion channels like E and fashion magazines.  The kind of occupation one is in also influences how an individual dresses.

 “The influx of fashion/social events in the country like Blankets And Wine, The Mingle etc have also to some extent led urban guys to go an extra mile to get that ‘look’ going on. It’s like a fashion show off”, says Dee. Truth be told, if you happen to miss one of these events the first thing we (ladies) want to know is who was wearing what.


Men’s clothes happen to be more expensive compared to women, especially when it comes to shoes, suits and shirts. According to Synovate, women spend an average of Sh500 on a shirt while men spend Sh900 and the former spent a maximum of Sh2000 on a shirt while the later spent as much as Sh10, 000.

Even though this Kenya Forum correspondent couldn’t establish what the average urban man spends on shopping in a month as most of them do not shop on specific time lines, one thing is quiet evident; self grooming is no longer an extravagant undertaking but a way of life many modern Kenyan men.


Could this tie in with the growth of a local, Kenyan fashion industry. Industry analysts suggest that there are signs of growth and increased prestige in Kenya’s fashion industry. 


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