ESSENCE: Tell us about your Kenyan and American upbringing.
RECHO OMONDI: There's this sort of double life you live when your parents are of another culture, mind-set, tradition. They were born and raised in Kenya, but we lived in America. We moved around the Midwest a lot, but then would spend three months in Kenya. I didn't realize it at the time, but all this traveling at a young age shaped my aesthetic.
ESSENCE: When did you know that fashion was your calling?
R.O.: It was always my thing, my favorite thing. Once I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer, I knew I wanted to be the real kind. So I went to school [Savannah College of Art and Design] to study pattern making and to sharpen my eye.
ESSENCE: Who's your ideal customer?
R.O.: She's open-minded, gritty but chic. She understands the importance of quality over quantity.
ESSENCE: What do you do in your free time?
R.O.: I love hanging out by myself. I can spend hours alone, and I stay busy—sketching clothes, researching artists, watching documentaries, reading.
ESSENCE: Everyday style staples?
R.O.: I know it sounds like a stereotypical designer but I'm usually in black, white or gray…tees, light sweaters, boyfriend jeans. I typically wear Manolo Blahnik Roritas or Adriana sneakers by Acne Studios.
ESSENCE: Beauty essentials?
R.O.: I use an eye pencil by Nars called Mambo—which sounds weird but the color is the best nude brown I've ever found. I swear by Glossier Balm Dotcom [skin salve] and Boy Brow [eyebrow pomade]. The only mascara I buy is YSL, and my favorite scent is Tom Ford White Suede.
Check out more Omondi designs at rechoomondi.com.