By Noel Mwakugu
BBC News, Nairobi
More than two years have gone by since Kenyan fashion designers brought their heads together and came up with the country's first national dress.
Head gear, loin cloths and cloaks featured in the dress designs
But the attire for both men and women - a combination of the various dressing styles of 42 ethnic groups in the country - has not made an impact.
The new dress code was a joint government and private sector project.
It sought a common identity for Kenyans soon after the 2002 elections that brought an end to former President Daniel arap Moi's 24-year rule.
Driven by the spirit of a new beginning, and after about six months of research and drawing, senior Kenyan politicians led by Vice-President Moody Awori, or "Uncle Moody" as he is referred to in social circles, were walking the catwalk at the Kenya National Theatre in the capital, Nairobi, showing off the new design.
Ojay Hakim, a top designer with the African Heritage Design Company in Nairobi, was one of the brains behind the creation of this much sought-after attire.
He says they studied different types of clothing worn by all of Kenya's ethnic groups to come up with the design.
"We learnt that all the communities had some kind of head gear, a loin cloth and a cloak which they covered themselves with across their shoulders. So, regardless of which part of the country they came from, these were the basic factors and this informed the design of the national dress."
And after the pomp and party, politicians, business executives and other professionals made a pledge to show up at big events - both locally and internationally - sporting this new-found identity.
But to the surprise of many, it is only Vice-President Moody Awori's wardrobe that seems to be making room for the Kenyan national dress, and lately he too seems increasingly reluctant to put in on.
So what went wrong? Some young professionals who were targeted to market this new look for Kenyans feel that as much as the quest for the national dress is vital, to some extent it lacked originality and appeal.
"I think they did not get people to buy in. The national dress is something you want to feel comfortable wearing. But, for the younger generation - those between 25 and 35 - what was chosen is not something they can wear daily" said Nairobi resident Kahaki Mwema.
Critics say the designers copied the Nigerian national dress style
The other reason that it was not so successful is that the designers copied what the Nigerians have and this is not appealing to many, Ms Mwema adds.
Two years down the line and the attire which should be the pride of Kenyans is not readily available, says Stanley Saburi.
"Yes, politicians will champion the outfit that won," says Mr Saburi, "but to the ordinary Kenyans this is not a product that they can just get for free."
Ciru Karanja feels that the Kenya national dress project has hit a snag because the concept was picked by a certain category of fashion designers whose production costs are beyond the reach of average Kenyans.
"It is a bit ridiculous to expect Kenyans to buy an outfit at about 6,000-7,000 Kenyan shillings ($100) and wear it once or twice a year just because it's a national dress," said Ms Karanja.
Ojay Hakim concurs with many Kenyans that the project did not produce the big fruit that was desired and attributes this to the fact that the amount of publicity after the launch was not adequate.
"Many people to date have misunderstood what the quest was all about. They are still asking questions about the design and it is simply because all the information did not get to them as it should have done," says Mr Hakim.
For instance, he says issues about cost should not arise as this depends on personal taste. The dress was not only restricted to the silk or linen material that Vice-President Moody Awori and his colleagues paraded on the day of the launch.
Kenyans can use any material and any designer or tailor to make the attire.
When the idea was being worked on, the Ministry of Culture and Sports - then under Najib Balala - was a driving force behind it, but, at the moment, the government is not showing any great interest in it.
"Kenyans now need to embrace this dress code, both locally and abroad. I think the government or any other sponsor should take up the project and give it another push as a lot of hard work was put into it and it's a great attire. It should not go to waste," says Mr Hakim, a proud owner of various shades of the Kenyan national dress.