When founded in 2014, Tom's Trunks were inspired by Kikoy fabrics and honouring the heritage of Kikoy is really important to us.

What is Kikoy?

The Kikoy is traditionally of rectangular shape, made from pure cotton with hand rolled fringes and woven with specific designs. The original Kikoy is characterised by its specific vibrant colours and stripes.

The History

Kikoy is a traditional garment originating on the East African Coast. Kikoy is a Swahili word meaning loincloth'.

It emerged from cultural exchanges between East Africans and their trading Arab partners from nations such as Oman and Iran. It was originally used by Arab merchants as a sarong. Hailed for its lightweight, durable nature, it has since become one of the most famous African fabrics.

Originally cotton yarn was hand-loomed by local craftsmen. The Kikoy was then dyed with bright natural colours and worn by local fishermen in Kenya and Tanzania.

The skill of crafting kikoy cloths has been passed down through generations and more and more people across Kenya have learnt the craft. Today the fabric tends to be machine-loomed using 100% cotton. To achieve the vibrant colours azo-free dyes are used.


Beyond its practical uses, Kikoy holds much cultural significance, often worn during traditional ceremonies, festivals, and religious occasions, it's a symbol of cultural identity and heritage. The production and sale of kikoy contribute to the livelihoods of many artisans and manufacturers along the East African coast.

This is where we best manufacture our classics kikoys - where it was born, and where it remains done best.

We thrive to honour the cultural roots which inspired Tom's Trunks and prioritise transparency, ethical production, community investment and cultural sensitivity.