Kenya National Attire: Factors Influencing Adoption
In the recent past, the search for nationhood and strategies of advancing the same have been brought into question in Kenya. Despite having a national language, which is Swahili such stated conflicts have prevailed, thus bringing the question of material culture into the limelight? The Kenya national attire is such a significant form of material culture that would bring the spirit of nationhood to Kenyan people. However, such a symbol is lacking in Kenya. National symbols have been used to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of their values, goals, or history. Thus there has been a subliminal desire for national attire, which Kenyans believed, could enhance national identity. Nonetheless, the search for Kenya's national attire has been an extremely difficult task for Kenyan designers, (Adongo and Odhuno 2004; Shamalla 2004; Magioga 2004; Safari mate 2006). More so, despite various efforts to the national attire it has not been adopted by a recognizable number. This study therefore sought to establish factors affecting adoption of the 2004 national attire developed in the Sunlight National Dress Quest. The research design used in this study is descriptive survey. Primary data was obtained using questionnaires and interview schedules while secondary data were found from books, reports, magazines, newspapers and the Internet. The study was carried out in Nairobi and the sample population was purposefully sampled. The total sample size for this study was fifty questionnaires out of which thirty questionnaires were answered. The sample comprised of eleven male and nineteen female. Designers, judges and members of the national attire project team. In the research different groups of people were interviewed and each gave their own opinion en what they thought contributed to the non-adoption of the Kenyan attire. From the analysis of results, the data reveals that the key reasons for poor adoption of the national attire include poor advertisement as about 37% of the respondents agreed to this. 57% did not like the design of the national attire while 43% did not like the color. The other reasons for poor adoption of the national attire included high cost of the national attire as about 30% of the respondents agreed to this. The low cost of secondhand clothes or (mitumbaa) also contributed to the poor adoption of the attire. This study therefore came to the main recommendation that the national attire should evolve from Kenyans. On the same line of practice designers should be allowed to come up with their creative ideas of national attires based on their respective interpretation of contemporary Kenyan culture. Such would be a viable base for coming up with national attire that would promote nationhood in the country .