Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your work?
I was born in Bamako, Mali, to a Congolese/Malian mother and a Mauritanian father. I was raised in Belgium. I have a degree in Translation and I am also trained as a contemporary dancer which I did for many years prior to having a family.
Fashion came to life for me at a very young age – my mother who spends at least two hours getting dressed up before stepping out of her room every morning was a real inspiration. However, when I returned to London after not living in Europe for many years, I discovered the magnificence and explosion emerging both from Africa and African expats on the fashion scene. As an artist, I felt that it was doing a lot of great things for Africa. This was an excellent opportunity to show what we Africans knew about our beautiful and vibrant continent. Fashion can be used as a way to transform perceptions of Africa by showing its energy and modernity.
My partner and I started off making scarves, as we wanted a product that was easy for non-Africans to add to their outfits. We used fabrics like wax printed cotton, Kente and Kitenge mixed with silk and wool.
What is your creative process?
My creative fashion is based on women I met in the four different continents I have lived in. From Singapore to Addis, a lot of fabulously dressed and stylish women have nourished my inspiration.
What’s your fashion philosophy – i.e. ethical or/and sustainable fashion?
As a start-up it is more economical to have our designs made in New Zealand which is where we live. Yet, most of the African fabrics we use are sourced around the world as we are very aware of the importance of ethical fashion. We choose the factories that we source from and work with very carefully.
What is your advice to aspiring designers?
Find yourselves reliable and inspiring partners to work with – you cannot do everything on your own!
In your opinion what are some of the challenges facing the fashion industry in Africa?
African producers face trade barriers with other countries, traffic and tax export duties often in form of bribes by officials from within African countries. This makes business very hard.
How do you give back to the community?
As soon as we have made a further step and gained more recognition, we would like to get more women back into the workforce by providing flexible and rewarding employment – both here and in Africa. We will do so by creating ateliers where all productions are made in-house.
What’s your price range?
Most of our creations are custom made and vary between $250 to $850. Our ready wear is between $200 and $450.
Where can we see more of your work?