Sometimes, when outfits, shoes or accessories are designed by fashion designers, they are done without any obvious depth or relation to the culture and heritage of where they are from. For example, fast fashion brands mostly design outfits based on the trends in the industry, without necessarily considering any culture or tradition.
This is one of the things that has made African fashion brands like Aliel Official and Ohene Mantse, stand out from the competition. By getting inspiration from their culture, roots and traditions, these fashion brands can come up with designs that are clearly a fusion of traditional cultures and contemporary fashion.
Loza Maleombho is another African fashion brand that considers the culture and experiments with the Ivorian tribal aesthetics to produce accessories and shoes.
So, how does this brand operate, what is their price range and who is their target audience?
About Loza Maleombho
Loza Maleombho is a fashion brand based in Cote d’Ivoire, otherwise known as Ivory Coast, that bridges Ivorian tradition with modern tradition to design exquisite accessories and footwear. The eponymous brand was established in 2012, by Loza Maleombho, and she wanted to create something meaningful that would have a social impact on Ivory Coast.
“By producing in Cote d’Ivoire, I hope to provide jobs and fair living wages to post-war Ivorian women, and thus showcasing Cote d’Ivoire’s artistry with positive and lasting social and economic changes.” – Loza Maleombho.
The designer has won many awards including Emerging Designer Of The Year, and her designs have also been worn by various celebrities including Beyonce in “Black Is King”.
Loza Maleombho was born in Brazil and raised in both Cote d’Ivoire and the United States, and this largely affected her creative process. Her exposure to different cultures contributed to her creative sensibility, as she is always curious about how these various cultural expressions can be connected to her work.
Despite all of these, it was important to her that her production process was done strictly in Cote d’Ivoire.
And why is that? Just like she shared,
“I wanted to create a sustainable space, which allows for the creation of jobs and opportunities for Ivorian artisans in order to inspire younger locals into entrepreneurship. It was important for me to have a higher purpose than just creating a fashion brand.”
By moving back to her home country, she was able to study the precolonial history, spirituality and customs, and she references this in some of her designs. One of the signatures in her brand is the Baoule mask, which is a small bronze symbol that looks like the face of a female. It was gotten from the West African cultures.
The fashion industry is filled with many fashion brands who, despite their uniqueness, are still similar in product offerings and target audience. The Loza Maleombho brand has competitors in the industry, especially having been in the game for a long while.
Shekudo is a fashion brand that caters to the needs of modern women by creating footwear and accessories which are unique. The brand creates these products by integrating some of the old age techniques and overlooked local resources into their contemporary aesthetic.
The brand makes use of materials such as local cotton, leather, and traditional aso-oke for their footwear and wood, brass, and silver for the earrings.
Okhtein is an Egyptian fashion brand that believes in designing statement pieces and utilising the finest sustainable materials to last in any wardrobe. Their product offerings include belts, clutches and many other accessories which showcases the beauty in Egyptian culture.
Their handmade pieces have also been worn by various celebrities including Beyonce, Emma Stone and many others.
The footwear andaccessories designed by the Loza Maleombho brand are meant to cater to the modern woman who fancies a touch of African culture and creativity. Just like the Kpelle Belt, which was worn by Beyonce in her music video, the products can be rocked to all sorts of occasions, whether formal or informal.
Also, the products are handmade with sustainable materials such as organic cotton, velvet and they feature bold decorative details. Typical belts and rings range from about 60 USD to 300 USD, while footwears range from about 80 USD to 200 USD.
One thing we love about the Loza Maleombho brand is how they channel the traditional Ivorian cultures to create unique designs, and this is what makes them stand out as well.