The Culture List: Celebrating Individuals and Brands Championing the Growth of Africa’s Creative Fashion Economy

For Africa, where clothing and textile are the major facets of the creative economy, recent efforts towards amplifying the growth of this sector have made tremendous headway. Joining the new community of individuals and companies championing this cause is Birimian Holdings, an African luxury brand investment company. 

Birimian Holdings is founded by Ivorian born Laureen Kouassi-Olsson a seasoned business professional with a background in investment banking, having held senior positions at Amethis Paris, Lehman Brothers and Proparco. With Lauren’s love for fashion and design, particularly of African innovators, she is readying her firm to lead the wave of economic growth of the creative industries on the mother continent. 

The aim of the company is to connect African luxury and heritage fashion brands with international investors, and create a community for key industry stakeholders to embrace and accelerate the expansion of these brands. Accordingly, its mission is to transform the continent’s creative masters into powerful entrepreneurs, sustainable enterprises and generate long-term value for the design industry within Africa as a whole. Through its unique network it’s able to help African creators build long term opportunities for growth and expansion by providing them with the necessary support to improve their infrastructure, manufacturing process, logistics, distribution while giving them world-wide exposure.

Below is a short list of some of the African fashion labels reaping the benefits of Kouassi-Olssons master plan.

Christie Brown

Founded in 2008 by Aisha Ayensu, the Ghanaian-based label makes fashionable bespoke garments and accessories as well as ready-to-wear clothing for the international jet-set. Employing deluxe and timeless African fabrics, like wax prints, and batiks, she creates innovative silhouettes using modern interpretations of artisanal techniques. The resulting aesthetic is distinctive, with an audacious allure featuring brand signatures such as embroidered corseted waistlines and bold, exaggerated shoulders that are favored by the line’s global clientele, including Tina Knowles and Alicia Keys.

Loza Maléombho

Loza Maléombho speaks to women who crave bold individuality and authenticity. The clothing celebrates the paradox of the old and new, with its exquisitely-detailed, modern and culturally saturated collections. The designer invests and empowers the local female community by employing women-only coops, and provide them with hands-on training and fair, living wages to create her collections artisanal design. And oh, did we mention that Beyoncé is a huge fan?

Yeba 

The uber-chic label Yeba is often likened to the African version of the European luxury label Celine. It is the first contemporary accessory brand to come out of Africa to venture into the luxe designer handbag space. Founded in 2015, its timeless, high-quality sacs combine the sculptural lines of modern architecture with a subtle inflection of Benin culture. The transcendent purses are handcrafted to last longer than a lifetime, and soon will be carried at international stockists, such as Net-a-Porter.

See Also

Simone et Élise

The Ivorian-based fashion brand is renown for highlighting the flair and unique beauty of its diverse clientele of all shapes and shades across the continent. Specialized hand-painting techniques lend the frocks a one-of-a-kind look. Pops of electric color highlight and compliment those of various skin tones, while the creative cuts flatter every figure.

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