fbpx

Friday 19th of August 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

The Contemporary Womenswear Brand Asantii

After working in the African design sector for more than 20 years, our founder Maryse Mbonyumutwa set out to establish an international fashion company with roots in the region. This is how the Asantii story began.
a company selling classic items manufactured with integrity. A company with a mission that is leading a revolution in fashion, promoting African designers, artists, and craftspeople, and improving the brand’s employees and their families through the Pink Ubuntu social investment program.

In this uncharted territory, the first step was to establish a manufacturing infrastructure. Currently, nearly 4,000 employees, mostly women, work for Pink Mango and its partner C&D Products in Rwanda.

The second step involved assembling a dream team of African designers, assisted by a group of worldwide specialists in luxury brands and supply. By coming together in the spirit of Ubuntu, they created Asantii, a stunning fashion label that represents Africa to the rest of the world.

Pride
With each collection, we are pleased to add to Africa’s rich cultural history and foster creativity.

The designers in the Asantii team come from 12 different African nations and are passionate about sharing their distinct viewpoints with one another and the rest of the globe. These designers draw new inspiration from their nation’s craft and textile traditions, cultural histories, and natural landscapes each season to help shape the prevailing mood. They are assisted by a London-based team of fashion specialists.

Wisdom
In the field of sustainable fashion, we are employing our industry expertise to have a beneficial social, economic, and environmental impact.

Asantii is committed to bringing about change in the fashion industry by a significant dedication to mindfully sourcing materials from all over Africa and ethically creating our designs at our cutting-edge facilities in Rwanda. Asantii is sustainable by default. We encourage female collectives and craftspeople and place an emphasis on classic, year-round looks that will breathe new life into your wardrobe.

Gratitude
Asantii was established on a strong commitment to uplift everyone who works and collaborates with us, embracing the spirit of Ubuntu, a belief in our shared humanity.

Everything we do is motivated by the principle of ubuntu (giving back), from prioritizing the needs of our employees and their families through corporate social responsibility to promoting the individual brands of our designers through capsule collections. Our ultimate goal is to serve as a catalyst for the growth of Africa’s fashion, apparel, and textile industries.

Asantii expresses gratitude to a continent that has provided so much for all of us.

Content courtesy of Asantii & NFH

 

The Kenyan Fashion Label Ikeno Clothing Was Inspired By Life On Lamu Island

Variety of menswear in slow fashion Jemima Bornman founded Ikeno in October 2019, and it was inspired by Lamu Island in Kenya.
The equator sun’s glare is reflected by Ikeno clothes. The clothing trend is made of baggy, worn-out materials and is slow and sustainable.

The spirit of Lamu Island, where company founder Jemima Bornman lives, is immediately reflected in the airy cotton and big cuts. It readily captures the winds that pick up off the Indian Ocean, making it ideal for use in the sweltering heat of tropical climates.

Small youngsters pass by and wave in the village of Shela as young Masai men drift by and laugh together. Donkeys wander aimlessly and without attention. You sweat calm there because it moves so slowly that it almost feels hallucinogenic.

When asked what the focus of her menswear clothes is, Bornman responds to OkayAfrica, “I want to keep things extremely simple. She points to the island’s renowned boats and explains, “My last line of suits were constructed from the Dhow boat sails that you see sweeping by, look.”

One of the largest offshore islands, Lamu is only 60 miles from the Somali border. A place with no automobiles or trucks and a predominantly Muslim population who speak Swahili. Donkeys’ sturdy backs carried an enormous load of creating and maintaining the island, which was still being done today.

Bornman moved to Lamu when she was 3 years old after being relocated from Zambia when her parents divorced.
The neighborhood came together to support a young single mother and her daughters. She feels a strong connection to those who, like her, stay and have known Bornman her entire life.

She reclines in the shade. After spending a long night bringing in bass and barracuda, the fisherman tie ropes behind her. “It makes no sense for Ikeno or me to live anywhere other than Lamu. My house,” she declares. Why even leave Kenya, which has always been such a fantastic creative center for fashion, design, and art? For me, it’s a location where creativity’s magic may be found every minute.

Ikeno relies on recycling items that capture the essence of the island because it uses its rhythms and echoes. According to Bornman, who sources the fabrics for her collections from India, “Ikat handwoven cloth from India has always been exported to East Africa and all the way to Lamu.”

It is impossible to avoid being inspired by the Swahili, Arabic, Persian, and Indian influences of the region’s past given the confluence of art and trade that makes up the culture of the region.
Bornman’s eyes brighten up as she talks about the elaborate and florally carved door frames on the island that inspired the block printing of geometric designs on her brand-new shirts.

Bornman has little desire to expand her brand past where it is now. I definitely shouldn’t admit it, but I’m content to keep things modest.
In fact, I believe it to be crucial,” she asserts. “During the rainy season, Sanga, a tailor I work with, returns to his home in Malindi, which is located near the coast. When it comes to stitching, he is discrete, experienced, and thorough. Not just for Ikeno, I just feel so blessed to have him in my life.

All the clothes Ikeno makes are sewn and tailored by Sanga. Bornman is the less reluctant of the two to serve as the spokesperson in their working business relationship.

Together, they are creating something considerate and innately eco-friendly. A company that is content to be virtually alone and pleased there.

When it comes to presenting the story of Ikeno, Bornman is also picky about her collaborators. To create the editorial for the brand’s most recent collection, she teamed up with the contemporary visual art collective 199x.
When Michael Mwangi Maina, an art director, and Fred Odede, a photographer, founded 199x, they were just two friends doing what they liked. Now, 199x is a highly sought-after agency.

Any customer we work with is aware that we need to handle the creative parts, according to Maina.

“We are skilled in subtlety.” In order to prepare for their arrival on Lamu, Bornman and I exchanged ideas. Photos of desirable sites were looked at, but even though Odede had already visited the island, nothing could have prepared Maina for it.

He says, “I can’t even put it into words.” “The sea was too much for me. the local atmosphere of the location, the hues of the sky, and the mangroves. Although almost too much, it was everything we had anticipated.

Along with three other members of their collective who were chosen to model, they spent seven days shooting. Even though the workdays were long, the evenings had a celebratory atmosphere, and as things started to fall into place, the entire experience turned into an adventure.

Being able to work and have fun, as Odede puts it, “felt like everything an artist needs. Although slow fashion is very important to us, we also wanted to let everyone know that Kenya was present. We intended for that to be felt both locally and globally.

When asked if their company was expanding internationally, Maina smiles and leans back. Both culture and fashion are reflected in our work, he claims.
We are the forerunners of full campaign editorial work in East Africa, therefore we know we can never run out of ideas here. With a serious nod, Odede continues, “Africa currently owns the vision, and we have taken up the role.” Across the globe from Lamu Island.

Content courtesy of Okay Africa & NFH 

African Prints: A Celebration Of African Fashion

The late Ghanaian fashion designer Kofi Ansah famously said: “Without clothes, we cannot play our parts.” He first made news in the UK in the 1970s after designing an outfit for Princess Anne.

One of the more than 40 designers showcased in the V&A’s exhibition Africa Fashion, from pioneers like himself to the new generation looking to shake things up, is Ansah, a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art who would go on to launch Ghana onto the international catwalk with his innovative styles.

Most of the names will be obscure to anyone who does not follow the fashion industry, and a few are only well recognized in Africa, so this first UK display is long overdue.

The exhibition’s dazzling collection of clothes, along with the textiles, personal testimonies, photographs, sketches, and film that go with them, highlight the diversity and richness of African fashion as well as the difficulty of defining it across a vast continent with 54 distinct countries, each with their own history, culture, and influences. The exhibition’s prosaic title belies this.

According to lead curator Christine Checinska, “Africa Fashion celebrates the vibrancy and originality of a select group of fashion creatives, investigating the work of the vanguard in the 20th century and the creatives at the center of this multicultural and cosmopolitan scene today.”
“We hope that this exhibition will lead to a rethinking of the geography of fashion and affect the course of the industry.”

She cited the exhibition’s opening piece, a 2019 electric pink outfit made of silk and Cameroonian raffia, as an example of Paris-based designer Imane Ayissi’s work at the exhibition’s opening earlier this month. This piece “sits on the crossroads of fashion systems cementing Africa and its diaspora, blurring the borders between craft-making and couture.”

Beyond this striking display, one enters the first section of the exhibit, which is, in my opinion, the more fascinating part. It tells the tale of African fashion’s ascent to global prominence beginning in the middle of the 20th century through the eyes of several important figures, such as Shade Thomas-Fahm, a graduate of St. Martin’s School of Art, who transformed traditional print fabrics for modern wear and Chris Seydou, who combined Malian bògòlanfini cloth with opulent western

It’s also important to note Naima Bennis, who combined Moroccan and French couture textiles to produce, among other things, the female equivalent of the Maghrebi hooded cape.

In the post-independence era, the pioneers’ work matured to signify the political and cultural revolution that was underway.
A picture of Kwame Nkrumah announcing Ghana’s independence from British domination in 1957 while donning traditional kente robes rather than a Savile Row suit and the stylish youths shot by portrait photographers Seydou Keta, James Barnor, and others serve to highlight this period of pride and promise.

The “modern creatives” take the stage upstairs, where the museum transforms into a sort of store, aware of their background but actively upending expectations and prejudices.

Adebayo Oke-use Lawal’s of organza and pleated chiffon as part of his Orange Culture label questioning hyper-masculinity and Lukhanyo Mdingi’s fluffy white mohair ensemble from the legendary Angora goats of South Africa couldn’t be more dissimilar from our conventional perception of what African fashion is.

I really like the flowing elegance of Rwanda’s Moshions brand and the fitted Ankara prints worn by Lisa Folawiyo.
But the focus is no longer solely on design. Awa Meité’s focus is cotton, both in her clothing and in her attempts to promote Malian cotton workers, while Congolese designer IAMISIGO uses his “wearable artworks” to “decolonize the mind.”

Content courtesy of Camden New Journal & NFH

Top 10 Black Fashion Designers: The Most Fashionable African American Designers

African attire is lively, life-affirming, and colorful. There are so many things to adore about fashion from this area of the world, and the fabrics made in Africa can be turned into almost any type of garment.

African American fashion designers are bringing a sense of life and vibrancy to other regions of the world through brilliant colors and attractive patterns. Many minorities’ voices would be suppressed and unheard if African American designers were not there.

Items like this African print Tunic are exactly what you’d expect from the top African American designers, and you’ll appreciate having this much color and flair in one piece of apparel.

D’IYANU African dress is akin to sending a statement out into the world. You must continue reading if you want to learn more about the most fashionable African American designers.

1. Kerby Jean-Raymond

Kerby Jean-Raymond is the creative force of Pyer Moss in New York. Jean-Raymond creates fabrics and apparel that use showmanship and innovation to discuss the black American experience.

Jean-Raymond draws on his Haitian-American roots to create vibrant and unique apparel that makes a statement about social issues and the history of minorities all over the world. The capacity of African American designers to create their brands for generations has been harmed by cultural appropriation and other concerns.

All of this experience, as well as the true nature of what it means to design for minorities today, is discussed by Jean-Raymond.

With this work in film, street art, and fashion, Jean-Raymond has brought attention to societal issues that affect African Americans and has made references to the Black Lives Matter movements.

Jean-Raymond was just chosen the global director of Reebok, and he will continue to use this media, as well as his other creative endeavors, to bring the voice of African Americans to fashion.

2. Aurora James

Aurora James is the creative director and founder of the fashion label Brother Vellies. This brand is dedicated to preserving and sharing indigenous African design principles and techniques with the rest of the globe.
James has worked in the fashion, media, art, and photography industries.

All of these abilities come together to create the unique and moving apparel that James is known for.
James is also concerned in supporting the ingenuity behind African designs and their style by generating and sustaining handmade jobs.

James’ efforts to combine sustainability with fashion design in her work are unique and special in the fashion world.

If you’re looking to invest in African culture and the voices of African Americans, this is the brand to go with.

James’ brand is usually associated with celebrities such as Beyonce, Meghan Markle, Serena Williams, and others. The brand’s mission is to make one-of-a-kind fashion goods that spread the African design message over the world.

James has a very unique and meticulous attention to detail, and her work is transforming how people around the world perceive African culture and fashion.

3. Dapper Dan

Daniel Day’s socially minded brand, Dapper Dan, is his creation. Since 1982, Daniel Day has owned and maintained this store, and he has worked with a wide range of celebrities, including Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z.

Daniel has also collaborated with Gucci to produce a fashion brand, and he has made a name for Harlem fashion around the world. Harlem has always had its own distinct sense of style, and there is no shortage of incredible inspiration in this Harlem-inspired apparel collection.

Dapper Dan is the fashion world’s voice for Harlem, and the business aims to make an impact in the areas of poverty reduction, crime prevention, and spiritual enlightenment.

This is a brand that is inspired by everyone who has struggled to overcome social injustice, as well as those who have been told that their culture is irrelevant and that they have no right to speak up.

Day’s personal life has been marred by sorrow and hardship, and his voice and vision, which tell the experience of African Americans through the centuries, communicate to everyone in the globe.

4. Carly Cushnie

Carly Cushnie is one half of the Cushnie design house’s founding team. Knitwear, tailored corporate clothes, and elegant and attractive female clothing were all celebrated by this brand.
Michelle Obama, the Kardashians, and Blake Lively have all been photographed wearing Cushnie.

This is a company that honors both the African-American experience and women’s empowerment.

Due to the pandemic’s impact on retail enterprises, Cushnie was forced to close its doors in late 2020.
That isn’t to say Carly hasn’t continued to design clothing and advocate for women’s and minorities’ rights.

Cushnie’s voice will not be hushed, and her talent and ability to create designs that allow women to embrace their femininity without compromise will continue to fuel her efforts in the fashion world.

5. Romeo Hunte

Romeo Hunte has his own lifestyle business that he runs and designs. This is a New York-based company that aims to develop both simple and complicated style.
Hunte started out as a buyer and personal shopper in the fashion industry.

As a result, he realized the need for a street-style brand that reflected African-American history and experience.

Hunte is constantly developing and curating his brand, with the goal of creating timeless styling. This is a free-spirited brand that clothes clients for black-tie events as well as casual daywear for work or lounging around.

Hunte’s designs have such a strong voice, and the brand’s colors, design choices, and styling vary and evolve with the social fabric of the United States.

Check out Romeo Hunte’s work if you’re looking for clothing that speaks to the heart while still creating a bold style statement. There are few brands that manage to be both edgy and restrained, and this brand’s careful balancing act of social commitment and style awareness is truly unique.

6. Laquan Smith

Laquan Smith had a successful year in 2021, with several celebrities wearing his designs on the red carpet. From celebs like Ciara, who look great in every outfit, to many accolades and magazine covers, there’s something for everyone.
Laquan Smith is a talented Black fashion designer to watch in 2022.

As a child, Laquan Smith observed his grandma and many other female role models.
His family sent him to art school in high school, and it was a life-changing event for him. He was turned down by FIT and Parsons when attempting to break into the industry.
Laquan e established a company called “LaQuan Smith 3D Leggings” and became known as the “leggings” person.

Things ‘took off’ once he modeled them, handed them around, and celebrities began to wear them.
Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Kim Kardashian were all early fans of his unique work, which piqued the curiosity of fashion icons and risk takers.

The company has received acclaim for its never-ending archive of unique clothing and details since its formal launch in 2013. Smith has developed a thriving private order clientele that stretches from Lagos to London.

7. Christopher John Rogers

It’s simple to see why Christopher John Rogers is one of fashion’s most fascinating new names. The designer’s voluminous designs, crisp tailoring, and unashamed use of color have already garnered him a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and a legion of followers, including Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Michelle Obama, after founding his eponymous label only a few seasons ago.

Rogers got the best of the year early after designing the much-discussed purple inauguration coat for Vice President Kamala Harris. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awarded Rogers the “American Womenswear Designer of the Year” honor, and his beautiful designs clearly speak for themselves.

Rogers’ high-end collections, which may sell for hundreds of dollars, are recognized for being vivid, flamboyant, and monochromatic.
He also has a Target limited-edition brand, Lime green, amber orange, and teal blue are among his favorite hues.

“One of my favorite tales is about a friend who was recently wearing a sweater I designed a few seasons ago. And it was just a striped, color-box jumper, to be honest “He was willing to share. “And I assumed it was nothing out of the ordinary, something I’d always wanted to witness.

“However, she stated that she had never received as many praises from any other piece of clothes in her life.

And I guess what I like about what I do is the way we use color and apply it to something that feels very practical.”
Rogers’ artistic vision has made him one of New York City’s most sought-after designers.
His climb to the top, however, has not been simple.

8. Jason Rembert

Jason Rembert, a celebrity stylist based in New York, has styled a slew of superstars on the red carpet and on magazine covers over the years.

Zendaya was photographed in one of his captivating designs for her Netflix feature, Malcolm & Marie, earlier this year, and his luxury fashion label, Aliétte, exploded.
John Boyega, Rita Ora, Issa Rae, Winnie Harlow, Michael B. Jordan, and Odell Beckham JR. are among his celebrity clients.

Vogue, L’Officiel, Paper, Essential Homme, GQ UK, Sports Illustrated, Variety, New York Times, and Billboard Magazine have featured Rembert’s work, as well as major campaigns for Samsung, Adidas, Moncler, Penshoppe, Giuseppe, and Google.

Rembert is noted for his ability to combine classic sensibilities with current components, a unique technique that gives his editorial, celebrity, and advertising collaborations a fresh perspective.

Jason Rembert was nominated Stylist of the Year at the 2018 Harlem Fashion Row Awards, in addition to being recognized to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Most Powerful Stylist of the Year” list.

9. Fe Noel

Big things usually start small, and Fe Noel was no exception. What began as a tiny experiment in Brooklyn has grown into a globally famous brand.

Noel’s creative and airy outfits have graced the silhouettes of powerful women like Beyonce and Michelle Obama. Some attribute Noel’s toughness and creativity to her New York and Grenadian roots, but we attribute it to her tenacity and creativity.

Fe Noel is a womenswear designer from Brooklyn, New York, who is inspired by travel, brilliant colors, and strong prints. She began her career at the age of 19, when she opened a brick-and-mortar boutique in Brooklyn for vintage enthusiasts and trendsetters.

That boutique sparked her ambition to help women embrace their femininity, which led to the creation of her namesake clothing and lifestyle fashion business, ‘Fe Noel.’

Fe Noel is a womenswear designer from Brooklyn, New York, who is inspired by travel, brilliant colors, and strong prints. She began her career at the age of 19, when she opened a brick-and-mortar boutique in Brooklyn for vintage enthusiasts and trendsetters.

That boutique sparked her ambition to help women embrace their femininity, which led to the creation of her namesake clothing and lifestyle fashion business, ‘Fe Noel.’

Fe’s Caribbean ancestry and large, close-knit family have had a big influence on her. She regards her mother and grandmother in particular in great regard, crediting them with demonstrating what hard work, determination, and humble hearts can achieve.

She enjoys assisting other young women start their own businesses in addition to creating, which she is able to do through the Fe Noel Foundation, a program for young girls who are interested in entrepreneurship.

10. Savage x Fenty

Business tycoon Savage x Fenty Think of Rihanna’s Midas touch: she constantly trying her hand at new entrepreneurial initiatives and blowing them up into empires.
Rihanna introduced a lingerie collection in addition to her Fenty cosmetics line, and it has been a huge success.

We may not know what’s next for Rihanna, but we do know that there’s no room for downward as long as Savage x Fenty continues to incorporate diversity into every creation.

The lingerie industry has been shaken, and sexy has been redefined, thanks to Savage X Fenty. The company encourages fearlessness, confidence, and inclusivity with affordable pricing ranges and a wide range of fashion-forward styles.
Savage X Fenty has something for every mood, vibe, and BODY, from everyday essentials to daring pieces.

“We want to make people look and feel beautiful,” Rihanna says, explaining that she approaches Savage X with the same mindset she applies to all of her projects: to create something new and fresh that everyone can relate to and be confident in.
“We want you to feel sexy while having a good time doing it.” Savage X Fenty has underwear for every mood, with everything from everyday necessities to more provocative items.

 

African American fashion is one-of-a-kind, These designers are always pushing the boundaries in order to create designs that effectively express the African American experience in the United States and around the world.

The challenges that affect African Americans are important enough for everyone to care about. Every design created by African American fashion artists is based on social justice and the ability of minorities around the world to speak up for their rights.

You support distinctive voices with essential tales to tell when you invest in African American designers. African American designers in the United States provide unique, remarkable, and authentic clothes and aesthetic aspects.

If you enjoy fashion and want to ensure that minorities have the same opportunities as others, you should invest in African American fashion.
One garment at a time, these designers are transforming the world.

Content Courtesy of EDM Chicago & op 

Red Carpet Dresses: Best Dressed Kenyan Celebrities And Beauty Influencers At L’oréal Paris Launch 2022

Without saying anything, fashion is the only way to express yourself. It reflects your personal style, elegance, mood, and personality.
Celebrities play a large part in shaping our society when it comes to fashion inspiration.
Nairobi fashion hub compiled a list of the top 10 most fashionable Kenyan women who rocked the red carpet at the L’Oréal Paris Kenya Launch.
On Instagram and YouTube, the majority of the trendy Kenyan female celebs and beauty influencers included here have a sizable following.

Taking a look at the best and boldest ensembles from the L’Oréal Paris Kenya Launch gives you a good idea of where the red carpet stands right now. The winning looks were elegant yet unique, and they should continue to inspire fashionistas for years to come.

1 Catherine Kamau

Catherine Kamau Karanja, better known by her stage names “Celina” and “Kate Actress,” is a Kenyan actress who has won numerous awards.
She rose to prominence thanks to her portrayal as Celina in the Citizen TV drama Mother In-Law. Sue na Jonie, Plan B, and Disconnect are just a few of the films she has been in.

2. Maureen Bandari

The Funshion Mistress, Maureen Bandari, is a passionate fashion blogger who has expanded into hair and beauty care to become a household name in Kenya

3. Sarah Hassan

4. Joyce Maina

5. Shely Sophisticated

6. Pearls and Loaf

7. Maureen Lwanga

8. Lydia Karleen Mukami

9. Anita Nderu

10. Jackie Matubia

 

As the month of June approaches, the temperatures begin to increase, allowing us to break out our summer staples. There are plenty of style ideas to steal from the celebrity set when it comes to designing your summer wardrobe, whether you’re a fan of a summer maxi, simple slips, or classic white dresses.

 

It never hurts to look to the stars for some fashion inspiration, whether you’re stuck in a style rut or simply want to treat yourself to some new investment purchases.

Content Courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Kolade Bobby A Ugandan Fashion Designer Is Repurposing Donated Clothing And Reselling It In The Country Of Origin.

Bobby Kolade (Kolade) A Ugandan fashion designer is upcycling donated clothing and reselling it in the country of origin.
Bobby Kolade is upcycling donated clothes into new products and attempting to resell them in an effort to combat a culture of excess that he claims has infected and damaged Ugandan culture and fashion.

“It’s very difficult for a designer like myself, and for my peers, to manufacture competitive clothing in Uganda because the second-hand garments that flood our markets are so inexpensive,” Kolade told The Current presenter Matt Galloway.

“Not only are we importing used clothing from the global north. We’ve also brought in a culture of excessive consumption and cheapness.”

With a concept dubbed Return To Sender, Kolade, a designer and entrepreneur, is attempting to reverse the flow of clothing.

According to Kolade, over 80% of all garment sales in Uganda are of secondhand things discarded in wealthier countries where fast-fashion reigns supreme. It has its own market in Kampala, where Kolade lives, named Owino Market. While some of the apparel on the market is functional, products such as ski jackets and wool suits are inappropriate for Ugandan conditions.

“The items that are shipped here are not always the items that we require,  As a result, many people simply adapt “Kolade stated.

“I once told a trader at Owino Market that I couldn’t afford this jacket. It’s simply too thick… And he added, “You know, style doesn’t care about the weather.”

While the market is a pleasant place to uncover some hidden treasures and bargains, it is also incredibly harmful to the country’s apparel designers, according to Kolade.

The Second-hand Market
In North America, when someone contributes clothing, the best of it is sold in a local store. Other items are then sold to countries in the developing world.

“Originally, they were sent as a gift. People might also pick up garments at various locations throughout the city. But it swiftly transformed into a highly profitable enterprise “Kolade remarked.

“That means our local industries never recovered from the early 1970s industrial downturn.”

Many charity stores and clothing organizations in wealthier nations are now selling excess inventory abroad, which frequently ends up in African countries, he explained.
This makes financial competition difficult for Kolade and other designers.

“People in this market now believe that clothing should be… as inexpensive as second-hand clothing. People have discovered this “Kolade said.

“So if you come out with something fresh as a designer and the pricing is a little higher than what they’re used to, they won’t buy our clothes.

No way!”
This second-hand method might be a double-edged sword, according to Annamma Joy, a marketing lecturer at the University of British Columbia.

While it presents issues for designers, she believes that donating clothing and providing affordable solutions for those in need is more sustainable.

“The government is boosting the number of job openings. People become hired in this company therefore it has an influence that is good for the economy,” stated Joy.

“Those garments, on the other hand, are not what consumers in those countries want. It’s also more costly. Because secondhand clothes undercut the industry, it closes.”

Return To Sender
Return to Sender, Kolade’s endeavor fills this gap. Kolade takes clothing that has been sent to Uganda and gives it his own personal touch.

One of his items, for example, is what he refers to as a four-panel T-shirt. He takes four different shirts and chops them up into fascinating combinations.
“It’s a metaphor for what we’re attempting to do because we’re trying to give these clothes a new identity,” Kolade explained.

He then sells them to individuals all around the world through his website.
The clothing also comes with a “clothes passport,” which outlines where the items utilized for the outfit came from.
“Hopefully, it’ll be a way of interacting with… individuals who see this item of apparel and wonder, “What is it?” ‘Where did it come from?’ And the wearer only needs to present his or her passport “Kolade stated.

 

He claims he isn’t bothered by individuals donating their garments since he realizes they believe it is a charitable deed and are unaware of the wider consequences. Instead, he believes that consumers would aid businesses by purchasing his sustainable inventions.

“‘Hey, listen, we can make something exciting, something new, something extremely innovative and resourceful,’ we’re trying to convey.
Smaller industry can be developed here,  Take a look at what we did with your trash.
If you want to help the industry in our country, please buy it back.’ “Kolade stated.

Content couretsy of CBC Canada, Buziga Hill & NFH

 

Jeffery Wilson, The Founder And Director Of The Jw Show, Represented Kenya At Africa Fashion Week Seattle.

Africa Fashion Week Seattle’s African-inspired designs are sweeping the global fashion market like never before, and it’s time to celebrate African excellence once more.

The Seattle Marriott Redmond hosted a colorful and vibrant exhibition and fashion event on May 8th, presenting local and international designers from all over the world.
Jeffery Wilson, our very own Kenyan Fashion Guru and Director of the JW Show, represented Kenya at Africa Fashion Week Seattle.

About JW Show

We aspire to connect Kenya, Africa, and the rest of the world via fabric and design.

Make a date with us and be a part of this renowned spectacle where elegance meets style. This fashion spectacular brings together men and women who are pushing the boundaries of sustainable local fashion enterprises that have crossed borders and drawn the attention of the globe.

About Africa Fashion Week Seattle Fashion For Humanity

It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you to this year’s Africa Fashion Week Seattle. This event was created to not only showcase the beauty of African fashion and culture but also to promote child education in African communities where many school-aged children are underprivileged and marginalized.
Every day, millions of African children, particularly in South Senegal and Tanzania, struggle to learn due to poor learning conditions. Images of young students sitting on the floor or on the ground due to a lack of desks have deeply moved me. Like most of you here today, I was fortunate to attend schools where I had access to every tool available to aid my learning.

The desperation of these children should serve as a wake-up call for us; we must act. To begin, we can provide them with a desk where they can write and learn. This is the first step in keeping these bright young minds in school.

In Senegal, a school desk costs $65 and a classroom requires 40 desks. By participating in Africa Fashion Week Seattle, you will make a difference by providing Senegalese or Tanzanian children with the opportunity to further their education and achieve their dreams.

We have been able to provide up to 101 desks, enough for two classrooms, since April 2021, and our goal is to provide 500 chairs by the end of the year 2022.

We will need all of the assistance we can get to reach this goal. I believe that by working together, we can improve access to education and learning quality in Africa, beginning in Senegal and Tanzania.

I’d like each of you to take a moment to consider this question:

  • Do you believe in education?
    Do you think education is important for breaking the cycle of poverty?
  • Do you think education is the key to opening the golden door of freedom for African children?

We don’t have to look far to find the answers to these questions.

Everyone reading this letter, in my opinion, is a living example of education’s limitless power.
Education represents everything to these children since it is the only avenue that can guarantee them socioeconomic freedom for themselves and future generations.

You will make a significant difference in the world by supporting our project, as you will be a part of something bigger than our local communities.
Your contribution will help to safeguard the future of an African youngster whose light would otherwise go unnoticed. There is no cause more noble, worthy, or spiritually fulfilling in my opinion, and I’m sure you’ll all agree.

Content courtesy of The JW Show, Africa Fashion Week Seattle & NFH

According To A Greenpeace Analysis, The Majority Of Clothing Delivered To East Africa Is Garbage.

According to a Greenpeace analysis, the circularity advertised by global fashion firms is “still a fantasy,” with the majority of apparel delivered to East Africa ending up in landfills.
Greenpeace Germany traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to learn about the problem of imported textile waste in these countries and to learn about some of the numerous local efforts working to combat it.

However, according to the campaigners’ most recent study, ‘Poisoned Gifts: From Donations to the Dumpsite: Textiles Waste Disguised as Second-Hand Clothes Exported to East Africa,’ issued last week, the majority of the apparel is of such low quality that it ends up at the dumpsite.

“The failure of the fast-fashion linear business model is more visible than in the countries where many of these cheap clothes end up once their short lives are over, on huge dumpsites, burned on open fires, washed out into the sea, with severe consequences for people and the planet,” Greenpeace said in a statement on its website.

According to the report, almost one million tonnes of worn clothing are collected annually in Germany, with the volume increasing by 20% year on year. According to the report, only a small percentage of worn clothing is resold in the country where it was collected: around 10%–30% in the UK, and similar percentages in the US and Canada.

According to Greenpeace, the majority of the worn clothing is sent overseas to join worldwide second-hand commerce in which billions of old garments are bought and sold each year.

However, the non-profit claims that this report demonstrates how textile waste is frequently “disguised” as second-hand clothing and exported from the Global North to the Global South in order to avoid the responsibility and costs of dealing with the problem of disposable clothing, with these used clothes, as well as new ‘overproduced’ clothes, frequently reported and recorded as “reused.” Greenpeace estimates that over half of them wind up in landfills, rivers, or are openly burned.

Greenpeace Germany said it recently campaigned for a ban on the destruction of unsold and returned goods to be included in the German circular economy law in 2020, as well as a transparency requirement for large companies to publicly disclose the number of products they discard and destroy, including textiles.

Following pressure from a number of environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, The EU announced a new textile strategy in March 2022, which recommends a ban on product destruction and a transparency mandate.

The widespread idea that donating clothes is a circular way of dealing with garment waste, according to the Greenpeace analysis, is generating concerns.

“The trade has been labeled “charity,” “recycling,” and “diversion,” and now many people call it “circular,” according to the research, although none of these names are accurate. Circularity is not achieved by simply transferring garments from one location to another. Previously, these clothes would have ended up discarded in dumpsites in the West, but now they end up in African dumpsites.”

African countries that have taken a position against this trade have also run into difficulties, according to the report. The East African Community (EAC) agreed in 2016 to restrict used clothing imports entirely by 2019.

The reason for the prohibition was that it would improve the economy by boosting the local textile industry.

The US, on the other hand, challenged the restriction as a trade barrier and threatened trade penalties, including the loss of duty-free apparel export eligibility to the US market, under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Import tax increases have also caused complications. Consignments of old clothing were left uncollected at the port of Mombasa after importers failed to comply with new duty rules, according to Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

According to Greenpeace, 150–200 tonnes of textiles are dumped in African countries every day, and because up to 69 percent of the fibers used in clothing are synthetic (mostly polyester), they are oil-based and non-biodegradable. Greenpeace alleges that discarded microplastic fibers seep into the environment and end up in the human food chain.

According to the report, because there is insufficient infrastructure to dispose of these vast amounts of textile waste and official dumpsites are overburdened, textile waste is dumped along rivers or at settlement borders.

Some of it is burned openly, causing health problems for those who live nearby and clogging rivers and drains, which can cause flooding.

Methane can be released by decomposing clothing, and synthetic materials like polyester and lycra can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Furthermore, many clothing contains harmful compounds, according to the survey.

According to Greenpeace, it is no longer sufficient for firms to focus solely on cleaning up their supply chains, and they are encouraging global fashion brands to increase their efforts to prevent their goods’ massive end-of-life impacts.
Furthermore, according to Greenpeace, the EU must ensure that its proposal to prohibit the export of textile waste and encourage long-lasting, durable, and repairable clothes of high quality is properly implemented through various rules, which must be accepted as a global treaty as soon as possible.

Greenpeace called for control of fashion supply chains in its Self-Regulation: A Fashion Fairytale report in November (2021), claiming that self-regulation was “failed to fix the problem.”

Content courtesy of Greenpeace & NFH

Lekucci Global, A Fashion Label, Has Unveiled Its Afrocentric Collection.

The Afrocentric Collection (AC’22) has been unveiled by Lekucci Global Nigeria Limited, a fashion firm.

According to Adelekan Mogbodofo, the brand’s Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director, the collection includes a mix of mainstream fabrics that symbolize current Africa, as well as a selection of pieces from Africa’s primordial art, fabrics, and accessories.

“Afrocentricity is an ideology and a philosophy that gained traction during the era when blacks were colonized without regard for their culture, language, or identity,” Mogbodofo stated when asked what motivated him to develop the collection.

“The wearing of African and African-inspired clothing expresses African identity and black nationalism.” The Afrocentric collections are cultural products of Nigerians and the black diaspora, and they are worn exclusively or in combination with Western outfits.

“Fashion is really essential,” remarked Fadeshola Ojamomi, the company’s Brand Manager, at the debut of the collection. It improves one’s quality of life, and like anything worth doing well, it’s worth doing well. We had to introduce the Afrocentric collection in order to ensure that our clientele looked more fashionable in 2023. It’s a collection that expresses who we are as Africans and how we should present ourselves.”

Content courtesy of Lekucci Global, Punch NG & NFH

Fashion for Conservation: Meet Sarah Vigne Founder Of Rock and Stones Ltd

Describe yourself (Who is Sarah Vigne) and your fashion brand in a few words.

Sarah is a natural entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in the development of sustainable enterprises that may provide revenue for wildlife conservation organizations.
Sarah founded the ethical fashion label Rock and Stones, and while working for the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya (www.olpejetaconservancy.org) for eight years, she developed a number of new revenue streams centered on retail, “voluntourism,” and “value adds,” resulting in increased visitor engagement (“immersive tourism”) and significantly increased financial resources for conservation.

Oscar Alochi: Can you describe Rock and Stones, the concept and idea as if I had never heard of it or the market in which it exists?

Sarah Vigne: ROCK AND STONES was founded in 2009, inspired by the vibrant contemporary fabrics made across the African continent, which represent the intriguing history of the Swahili trading empire and its ties to West Africa, India, Arabia, Europe, and the Americas in their designs.

Kitenge and Kanga are two of our favorite fabrics. These popular clothes include vivid designs in brilliant colors, as well as a Swahili inscription in the case of the Kanga. The abundance and variety of designs on these fabrics are amazing, ranging from post-modern abstractions to conventional paisleys and depicting subjects as varied as political and religious leaders, architecture, cuisine, animals, plants, plumbing, forms of transportation, and complicated patterns. Proverbs, aphorisms, insults, and blessings are among the Swahili inscriptions on the Kanga.

Kanga and Kitenge are wrap garments worn in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, the Congo, and everywhere where Swahili is spoken. The Kanga, which is as popular as a t-shirt in the United States but has a far greater cultural value, is still evolving. It is a valuable medium for personal political, social, and religious expression, similar to the T-shirt but incomparably more exquisite and functional.

The Kanga has become an intrinsic element of East African culture as both an art form and beautiful, practical clothing.
‘The Kanga struts in style… Wear it with a smile,’ as the slogan goes.

Rock & Stones is based in Kenya, and we specialize in bringing the depth of African culture to our tailoring workshop, where we transform our carefully picked African Kanga and Kitenge fabrics into a collection of ready-to-wear garments for all ages and sizes.

Specializing in beachwear, festival clothing, and casual wear…

Our firm supports the local communities that make our clothes with such care, and we aim to open our own training workshop soon to provide a life skill to both boys and girls, men and women, who want to work with Rock & Stones to find a market.

OA: What were you doing before Rock and Stones, and what motivated you to start the business?

SV: The prospects that Africa offers inspire me. It’s such a bright and colorful place, with skilled and talented people that only need a helping hand to progress economically. I’ve worked in tourism, horticulture, and as an investment banker before that.

OA: What techniques do you use? Tell us about the process.

SV: We are primarily a tailoring business that produces shorts and other clothing items from vibrant African textiles of the greatest quality and grade.

OA: How did you learn/master this technique and why do you use it?

SV: I can’t sew to save my life, but I know some amazing tailors who can, and it is up to them to manufacture our products.
However, I have mastered the art of quality control inspection!

OA: What challenges did you face?

SV: Keeping the company afloat during COVID was a problem, but we managed to do so and keep everyone working, despite the fact that I stopped paying myself.
We are still recovering, but we believe we have passed the worst of it.

OA: How did the obstacles make you feel?

SV: We were successful once we got through them. I’ve discovered that one of the most crucial life skills is learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

OA: What were your achievements?

SV: We have a company that makes roughly Kshs 25 million each year and is growing.
That in its own right is an achievement I think.

OA: Favorite moments?

SV: After a long day at work, relaxing with a glass of wine in the evenings

OA: How do you get dressed in the morning?

SV: I go through a lot of various outfits before deciding on my final one, which irritates my husband.

OA: What’s your take on the Kenya fashion industry?

SV: Potential, potential, potential!

OA: How different is the UK fashion industry compared to the Kenya fashion industry?

SV: Of course, the fashion sector in the United Kingdom is far more competitive, and standards are normally higher, but that in its own right provides us in Africa with a great opportunity.

OA: Any future collaboration with Kenyan fashion designers?

SV: We’re always looking for opportunities to work and partner, but there’s nothing substantial on the horizon right now.

OA: If you were given the opportunity to work with a local or international fashion designer who will you love to work with?

SV: Anya Hindmarch

OA: What are your thoughts on fashion in Africa?

SV: We have a long way to go, but we have a lot of potentials, as previously stated.

OA: What has changed during this period of Covid-19

SV: The local markets took a beating, but we’re starting to bounce back now… However, there is still a long way to go.

OA: How has your fashion brand adopted the new technology of virtual fashion shows during and after the Coronavirus pandemic?

SV: We’re much more online now, and that’s where we see ourselves going in the future.

OA: How are African fashion designers influencing fashion in the western world?

SV: Increasingly – we have a place, we are bright and colorful, and we are the new big thing

OA: What can the African fashion industry learn from the western world?

SV: Efficiency, prompt delivery – on time, in the appropriate quality, at the right location

OA: Over the last few years have you noticed any significant changes in the African fashion trends?

SV: Yes, they are increasingly influenced by western trends, which is both good and terrible. Even as we modernize and progress, we must remain true to our roots.

OA: When dealing with Africa is it important for the fashion world to be ethical and socially responsible, and put in place strong corporate social responsibility governance?

SV: Of course, we have a strong ethical attitude at Rock and Stones.
We donate a portion of our profits to charity and do everything we can to keep people employed and engaged.

OA: Tell us about UK Fashion Week.

SV: Don’t really know too much about it – we are an African brand!

OA: Where can we find your designs?

SV: www.rockandstones.com

We also have a number of locations in Nairobi, as well as our own shop in Nanyuki’s Dromans complex.

OA: What does eCommerce mean to you and your business?

SV: We consider that as critical to our company’s future success.

OA: Do you think eCommerce is important for African fashion designers that are trying to get recognized and reach a global market?

SV: Yes, it’s crucial, but you should also invest in marketing and social media. You may generate traffic to your eCommerce site by building a digital following.
You’re dead in the water if you don’t have this.

OA: How does your strategy change when running an online store to an offline store?

SV: As previously said, digital marketing and social media are critical.

OA: Where do you see African fashion in the next 5 to 10 years?

SV: Growth – and perhaps, we’ll be able to start breaking into high-value Western markets on a large scale.

OA: What 5 pieces of advice would you give to young African fashion designers wanting to enter the fashion industry?

SV: 

  • Stay true to your roots – Africa is the next big thing
  • Work hard and persist – things don’t happen overnight
  • Ecommerce is the future – meaning that digital marketing is key
  • Wear your own fashion with pride
  • Continuously survey global trends – what do people wear and what do they want

OA: Is there anything else you would like to add?

SV: Go for it!!!

Content courtesy of Sarah Vigne, Rock and Stones & NFH 

%d bloggers like this: