[dropcap]R[/dropcap]uby Okidi always has an odd way of looking at things. Oddly enough, this somehow works for the fashion designer and her outfit, Style By Ruby. Her designs can get a little creepy, but that makes them unique and admirable by the fashion conscious lot.
When Ruby called Business Today Monday, she was not talking fashion as much. “Hey, I know it’s been long since you did an article on me. It’s like two years (we actually published her story nine months ago. That’s Ruby for you). My Valentine will be at Kamiti Prison.”
Ruby does more talking than listening, so I let her loose and she ventured into listing the qualities of Mr Right, the elusive man that every lady dreams of.
“I know most ladies want to date a guy who wakes up at 5am every day, exercises every day, makes his own bed, cleans his room, works sincerely, does not touch alcohol, helps in the kitchen, does not indulge in night life, is always punctual, prays daily, reads, and hits the bed at 9pm sharp,” she says.
Getting that man in Kenya, or anywhere else in the world, can be about as hard as finding a woman with similar qualities. But Ruby believes she has discovered that rare gem.
“That guy actually exists,” she says, allowing in some dead moment as if to give me time to interject with a big No. “He is in prison, lol.”
So on 16th February 2019, just two days after Valentine’s Day, Ruby will be heading to Kamiti Prison to “meet and greet the perfect guys.”
It will be a time to donate something and interact with them and of course give them hope, she says. She’s mobilizing people to donate cooking oil, floor, sausages, sugar and tea/coffee. And of course rose flowers.
“Freedom is not something to be taken for granted. Those of us who are free hardly think about those who are not. I mean we even get angry when we don’t receive a text back in ten minutes. Someone somewhere doesn’t even have a phone.”
“They are not even aware of what’s trending on Facebook or the hashtags we have created on twitter or how annoying traffic can be.”
The lives of these perfect guys in the world of Ruby are confined behind prison walls. They will make her date on 16th when Style by Ruby and a number of fashionistas under Humanity Rescue Foundation will hold a fashion gig for Mr Kamiti 2019 between 9am and 4pm.
Shortlisted prisoners will get a chance to wear some her men designer outfits, strut the runway and be cheered, recognized and rewarded with gifts for their style, substance and good looks.
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“We want to give them memories and hope,” she says. “My post-Valentine date can definitely not afford flowers, or a text, or memories, but I will create time. Everyone can always create time to encourage someone; a street kid, a sad friend, a lonely mother. Let us just not wait to receive. Give something too.”
For Ruby, it’s a way of giving back to society and inspiring this secluded generation men. But it’s also a way of marketing her outfits not just to the prison community but the larger public as well through the impact she creates.
“While business is about making sales and profit,” Ruby says, “if you lose your humanity in the process you got it all wrong. Not everyone can actually afford to purchase but want memories.”