The African fashion industry has indeed grown significantly over the years. Many fashion entrepreneurs from different countries in Africa have been able to showcase their creativity and designs on international stages. They have also had representations in magazines and fashion shows which has greatly influenced the growth of the industry.
In this segment, we focus on one African fashion entrepreneur who is significantly making a difference in their community and the whole world at large. We have previously looked at how ZYNE and Okhtein have made a difference in their immediate community while gaining immense international recognition.
In this same light, how has the Hanifa clothing brand affected communities in Congo and the world at large?
Hanifa is a women’s clothing fashion brand that creates ready-to-wear collections by utilising captivating designs, bold colours and unique textures. These feminine designs are created to properly accentuate and illuminate the natural curves of a woman. The fashion brand is owned by Congolese fashion designer, Anifa Mvuemba.
She launched Hanifa in 2012 after deciding to follow her love and passion for fashion. She had also wanted to design, but due to her fear of competition, she consistently shunned the idea.
“On my 21st birthday, I wore a dress that I designed and made, and the feedback was so awesome. It gave me the kick and push that I needed to really start designing and making things happen.” – Anifa Mvuemba
Inspiration For Designs
Being a Congolese, born in Kenya, but raised in Maryland, USA, Anifa Mvuemba’s design inspiration stems from her travels and her roots. In the digital runway show she launched recently, the inspiration for the designs was gotten from the controversy around the mining practices in Congo.
And like she shared also,
“Colours also inspire me and are very important to the brand. We test them against black skin to make sure they look good.”
The designs in the fashion brand are made in such a way that black women would feel represented and comfortable while shopping. The designs are specially made for women of colour with colours that work for the black complexion, as well as things that fit the hips and different proportions.
How Hanifa Is Affecting African Communities
Earlier this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, Anifa Mvuemba delivered her Pink Label Collection using 3D models entirely. This made her the first fashion designer to deliver on a digital runway show, and this move alone attracted international fashion bodies and experts to the African fashion scene.
Anifa Mvuemba works with Teen Vogue to deliver on a new mentorship initiative known as Generation Next. This initiative is designed to provide upcoming or emerging fashion designers in the industry at large with the resources and mentorship they need to become world-class.
The Hanifa fashion brand is one that has grown internationally as their pieces are worn by various celebrities all over the world, including Ciara and Kelly Rowland, and are being widely accepted.