African fashion retailers have raised the profile of local luxury. What’s next?

Industrie Africa is working with local designers to deliver directly from their studios to the consumer. “We have the agility of a market model,” says founder Nisha Kanabar. “We are not holding stocks because it is not good for designers. It somehow paralyzes their ability to have control over their inventory. Designers are able to subtract quantities or increase them “.

Young African designers need to develop solid foundations, says Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, founder of Birimian. “It’s not just about being able to produce the right amount at the right time … When we look at the industry, there are many initiatives, opportunities, companies, that put the spotlight on those brands without really working on their deep infrastructure.”

The investment helps, however small the initial amount is. Jendaya has raised £ 110,000 over the past 18 months to start her business, with investors ranging from game of Thrones actress Maise Williams, Roberta Annan, founder of the African Fashion Foundation. She has also benefited from some big names on her advisory board, including Rotimi Akinyemiju, former COO of Moda Operandi, and Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week. Federico Marchetti, former president and CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, also provides mentoring, helping Jendaya’s team prepare for a seed round of funding later this year. Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, also provided advice and feedback.

Unlike The Folklore or Industrie Africa, Jendaya also offers international brands, including Nensi Dojaka and Balenciaga, bringing them to the consumer and the African market. Customers from all over the world can shop for African luxury brands on the Jendaya platform.

Community-centered approach

Multi-brand retailers are looking to create a supportive environment in which young African brands can benefit from creative advice, such as how to make a good campaign and how to develop a line sheet. “You can’t have the retail component without community focus because you are looking to create regenerative prosperity within our industry and regenerative growth as an industry,” says Kanabar. “It’s not just about changing global perception and stereotypical aesthetics, which I think is something we all know. It’s about creating a framework through which to navigate and grow and use it as a learning platform. “

In addition to fashion and luxury goods, these retailers are integrating into the community and developing a media presence across their platforms. Industrie Africa works with regional freelancers who often write content for its site. The Folklore Group has launched an online multimedia platform that presents editorial content on the African and diasporic design industry. Jendaya was born as a pure content platform, highlighting African brands. It is now destined to become much more and to pave the way for the development of African fashion talent.

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