The Demand For African Fashion Is Being Led By Fashion Technology Startups In Africa
One of the most colorful and dynamic industries in Africa is fashion, which displays the diverse expressions and styles of the populace. According to a recent UNESCO report, the industry is expanding quickly, employing over 1.7 million people and having a market value of over $31 billion.
The continent boasts a wealth of diverse design talent, but the industry still faces many obstacles, including a lack of skills, infrastructure, funding, and distribution channels. Africa’s share of the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry’s revenue in 2019 was less than 1%, according to a McKinsey & Company report.
Nonetheless, a growing number of African fashion entrepreneurs are utilizing innovation and technology to develop solutions that improve their industry’s operations and satisfy consumer demands. These are a few of the fashion tech companies that are revolutionizing the industry and driving demand for African fashion.
1. La Reina
La Reina is a fashion platform that allows women to rent a variety of designer dresses for special events. Initially established as a platform for women to rent each other their evening and bridal gowns, La Reina was founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab. Presently, the company provides a vast assortment of apparel, footwear, and accessories from more than 100 Egyptian and foreign brands.
Renters pay users who lend their dresses to La Reina money.
Over EGP 3.5 million, or roughly $200,000, has been made available to dress owners through the platform thus far.
“The Box,” their newest offering, is a fashion subscription service that lets customers sign up to receive a box containing a new outfit every week. The user only needs to select a membership plan and create an account.
The subscriber gets a box containing two to three pieces from La Reina’s collection every month.
Renters have two options: either peruse the collection and choose what they want to rent, or let La Reina’s stylists assemble a box just for them.
The items (which La Reina dry cleans and sanitizes before shipping, so they’re ready to wear) have five days from the time they receive their box to be worn.
The subscriber only needs to let La Reina know when they’re ready for something new, and they’ll send their subsequent shipment.
Targeting the expanding Egyptian e-commerce market, which is projected to grow to $10 billion by 2025, is La Reina’s goal. The $8 billion Egyptian fashion market is another area the company is focusing on. The business completed a $1 million funding round in 2018 that was led by American 500 Startups and local venture capital firm Algebra Ventures. Additionally, La Reina is the most recent regional firm to receive support from the international venture capital firm 500 Startups, which has a lengthy track record of making investments in the Middle East and North Africa.
African fashion designers and artisans can reach out to global consumers through Anka, an online marketplace.
Anka is an Ivorian fashion and craft company founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Moulaye Taboure, Kadry Diallo, and Luc B.
Perussault. Its mission is to promote African fashion and craft diversity and creativity while assisting African artisans in expanding their enterprises and reaching a worldwide market.
Over 7,000 sellers from throughout Africa and the diaspora contribute hand-picked items of apparel, accessories, jewelry, art, and home décor to Anka.
Customers can support the African creative economy by shopping for goods that express their identity and sense of style.
Anka also offers services and tools to assist sellers in running their online stores, including marketing, shipping, payment processing, and inventory management. Partech and Orange Ventures have contributed $11 million in Series A funding to Anka.
Through its ability to connect designers, tailors, and (Aso Ofi) weavers with a nationwide customer base, Oyoyo is a fashion tech app that has the potential to completely transform the Nigerian fashion industry.
Craftspeople can showcase their expertise, abilities, and distinctive designs by creating online profiles through the app. Additionally, it has an easy-to-use “measurement management” function that lets fashion designers take, store, and format an individual’s measurements as needed.
Oyoyo was created in response to the problems that Nigerian traditional fashion artisans face, including their reliance on word-of-mouth and repeat business, their inability to reach a larger audience, and their lack of an online presence.
Additionally, the app has a number of features that can aid in business growth. For instance, Oyoyo automates processes like order management and customer communication to help artisans increase their productivity and efficiency.
They will have more time to concentrate on developing and designing new products as a result.
As of yet, Oyoyo has not secured any outside funding. Still, the business has been partially funded by angel investors in addition to being bootstrapped by its founders.
Klasha is an online store that offers young African customers fast fashion from international brands. Klasha, a British-Nigerian businesswoman, was established in 2017 with the goal of facilitating easy, cost-effective, and convenient online shopping for African millennials.
Klasha has a large selection of stylish women’s apparel, accessories, and shoes that range in price from $10 to $100. Consumers in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa can take advantage of quick and free delivery within 1 to 5 days, and they can pay using both local and international payment methods. Klasha optimizes its inventory, pricing, and marketing strategies by utilizing artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Seed funding totaling $1 million has been secured by Klasha from Techstars, Ginco Investments, and additional angel investors.
An online marketplace for up-and-coming designers and modern African fashion is provided by the South African startup Kisua.
Through partnerships with designers from throughout the continent, it seeks to raise awareness of African fashion on a global scale. Exclusive capsule collections inspired by the sights, sounds, and flavors of Africa are produced, fusing traditional materials and techniques with a modern design aesthetic. With distribution hubs in Europe, America, and Africa, Kisua offers global delivery services.
Kisua was founded with the intention of addressing issues that African fashion faces, including distribution, infrastructure, funding, and skills gaps. Sam Mensah Jr. is a Ghanaian economist and former director of an international investment fund.
Through the Kisua Designer Fund, Kisua provides financial support for African designers’ collaborations and a percentage of sales from their collections as another way of doing business. Global celebrities, including Beyonce, have expressed interest in the startup.
The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector arm, and the Abraaj Group, a private equity firm that makes investments in emerging markets, are two of the organizations that have contributed more than $1 million to Kisua’s fundraising efforts. In addition, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and the African Development Bank have all given Kisua support.
Content courtesy of Venture Africa & NFH