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FOCUS ON THE NEW AFRICAN TALENTS

Constellation Africa

In celebration of the Guest Nation of Pitti Immagine Uomo 88, Fondazione Pitti Discovery and ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative have gathered talented young designers of four African brands to present their collections with the Constellation Africa runway fashion show.

Get to know the stories behind Dent de Man, MaXhosa by Laduma, Orange Culture and Projecto Mental with our Designer Profiles, and discover the roots of these four brands designed and produced within their continent of origin.

 

In celebration of the Guest Nation of Pitti Immagine Uomo 88, Fondazione Pitti Discovery and ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative have gathered talented young designers of four African brands to present their collections with the Constellation Africa runway fashion show.

Get to know the stories behind Dent de Man, MaXhosa by Laduma, Orange Culture and Projecto Mental with our Designer Profiles, and discover the roots of these four brands designed and produced within their continent of origin.

 

Alexis Temomanin of Dent de Man

When did you decide to make a career out of your passion for fashion? 
I have worked in fashion for over a decade as a PR consultant for the fashion industry. This is how I first started in this industry. The transition to become a designer started about 5 years ago with personal circumstances. On a journey to meet with a relative who abandoned me when I was a little boy, I made a suit to prove that I had grown out of the unhappy and lost little boy and was now an adult who was able to leave behind a dark chapter of my life. The suit created a lot of buzz on my journey back to London. I had many requests to know the brand behind the clothes I was wearing. Seeing the success of it, I founded Dent de Man and decided I wanted to create clothes and use my designs as a means to communicate my views to the outside world.

How does ethical sustainability play a role on your ambitions as a designer in the future?
Ethical sustainability is a topic close to my heart. I grew up in a poor region of the globe and I still remember the artisans working in my neighborhood making clothes for a miserable pay, the same clothes that would be sold at a much higher price in Europe. Now as a designer I believe our goal is to ensure the manufacturing of our creation should not deprive other human beings to live. Dent de Man is part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre which enables artisans living in poverty to connect with the global fashion chain. We are proud to work with them on this initiative to reduce poverty by facilitating dignified work at a fair wage, promote gender equality by fostering and empowering female employment and protecting and cleaning up the environment.

What is unique about your presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88? 
We are extremely proud to be part of Pitti Immagine Uomo 88. Dent de Man demonstrates a unique yet accessible luxury approach to menswear mixing classic tailoring and vintage Batik fabrics adorned with Javanese patterns. Each print has a significant meaning for the creative director who uses his creation to convey his life story. Each piece of the collection represents a key milestone of his life. Dent de Man is a story telling brand which enables his clients to affirm their personality and take a stand for their beliefs.

 

Alexis Temomanin of Dent de Man

When did you decide to make a career out of your passion for fashion? 
I have worked in fashion for over a decade as a PR consultant for the fashion industry. This is how I first started in this industry. The transition to become a designer started about 5 years ago with personal circumstances. On a journey to meet with a relative who abandoned me when I was a little boy, I made a suit to prove that I had grown out of the unhappy and lost little boy and was now an adult who was able to leave behind a dark chapter of my life. The suit created a lot of buzz on my journey back to London. I had many requests to know the brand behind the clothes I was wearing. Seeing the success of it, I founded Dent de Man and decided I wanted to create clothes and use my designs as a means to communicate my views to the outside world.

How does ethical sustainability play a role on your ambitions as a designer in the future?
Ethical sustainability is a topic close to my heart. I grew up in a poor region of the globe and I still remember the artisans working in my neighborhood making clothes for a miserable pay, the same clothes that would be sold at a much higher price in Europe. Now as a designer I believe our goal is to ensure the manufacturing of our creation should not deprive other human beings to live. Dent de Man is part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre which enables artisans living in poverty to connect with the global fashion chain. We are proud to work with them on this initiative to reduce poverty by facilitating dignified work at a fair wage, promote gender equality by fostering and empowering female employment and protecting and cleaning up the environment.

What is unique about your presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88? 
We are extremely proud to be part of Pitti Immagine Uomo 88. Dent de Man demonstrates a unique yet accessible luxury approach to menswear mixing classic tailoring and vintage Batik fabrics adorned with Javanese patterns. Each print has a significant meaning for the creative director who uses his creation to convey his life story. Each piece of the collection represents a key milestone of his life. Dent de Man is a story telling brand which enables his clients to affirm their personality and take a stand for their beliefs.

 

Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa by Laduma

Tell us about the beginning of your fashion career.
My fashion career began right after I graduated at university in 2011, that is the year I established my brand. I received an opportunity to be invited to speak about my work at the Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town, which was attended by many international delegates from the design industry. I managed to create demand through the platform, which helped me get South African buyers.

How close are you to the production process, and what are the benefits of having it home?
I started making my knitwear myself initially when I had little demand, as demand grew a little, I had to outsource production from South African knitting mills. I spend a long time with my manufacturer when they are producing my products to monitor the process and specify all the finishes that I want.

What do you expect in terms of expansion with the presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88?
I expect to firstly, create brand awareness that will make the market understand my brand, secondly, I want to get the opportunity to meet international buyers to engage with them about future business and opportunities in territories that I haven’t tapped into yet.

 

Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa by Laduma

Tell us about the beginning of your fashion career.
My fashion career began right after I graduated at university in 2011, that is the year I established my brand. I received an opportunity to be invited to speak about my work at the Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town, which was attended by many international delegates from the design industry. I managed to create demand through the platform, which helped me get South African buyers.

How close are you to the production process, and what are the benefits of having it home?
I started making my knitwear myself initially when I had little demand, as demand grew a little, I had to outsource production from South African knitting mills. I spend a long time with my manufacturer when they are producing my products to monitor the process and specify all the finishes that I want.

What do you expect in terms of expansion with the presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88?
I expect to firstly, create brand awareness that will make the market understand my brand, secondly, I want to get the opportunity to meet international buyers to engage with them about future business and opportunities in territories that I haven’t tapped into yet.

 

Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture

What do you believe to have been your breakthrough in fashion?
As a brand my breakthrough would probably be my second year at Lagos Fashion and Design Week - it took me from being an unknown brand to showcases outside of Nigerian, international press and my first ever stockist. They helped me break into the international market.

Through your evolution as a designer, how do you keep in touch with your roots in your work?
As a brand my whole ideology is connected to my roots- so I ensure that I am consistently feeding myself no matter where I am in the world - things connected to my roots!

How is your presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88 impacting you?
It is giving me a chance to break out further into an international industry - meet with key participants within the industry and tell my story of my home, Nigeria , a fragment of the beautiful continent that is Africa.

 

Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture

What do you believe to have been your breakthrough in fashion?
As a brand my breakthrough would probably be my second year at Lagos Fashion and Design Week - it took me from being an unknown brand to showcases outside of Nigerian, international press and my first ever stockist. They helped me break into the international market.

Through your evolution as a designer, how do you keep in touch with your roots in your work?
As a brand my whole ideology is connected to my roots- so I ensure that I am consistently feeding myself no matter where I am in the world - things connected to my roots!

How is your presentation at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88 impacting you?
It is giving me a chance to break out further into an international industry - meet with key participants within the industry and tell my story of my home, Nigeria , a fragment of the beautiful continent that is Africa.

 

Shunnoz Fiel & Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga of Projecto Mental 

What first sparked your interest in fashion?
Fashion is a very powerful visual art. It has the power to touch people´s emotions, bodies, desires and soul. We were very active artists before fashion. We were doing poetry, music, literature, spoken word. We then became inspired by what we saw in fashion as being an element of the art of decoration and self-expression. We then became interested in what we saw in fashion as an ability to influence people´s behaviour and mindset with clothes. We wanted to explore the use of fashion as a platform to express and let out all our emotions, views, and experiences.

What important elements inspired from your origins can we see in your creations?
African sartorial experience. We wanted to transfer to the collection some aspects geometric vision of African sartorial aesthetics. In Africa, fashion, classic or not, there is a flexible principle that allows plain and mixed forms and patterns to exist, co-exist, cooperate and create harmony. Fashion is viewed and represented in two dimensions.  

What can we expect from your catwalk at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88?
A well-constructed collection. A collection that stands in between the two cultures that we represent; Africa and Europe. A collection that people could look at and identify themselves, regardless of background or taste. Pieces that are not only exotic for the eyes, but also for the body.

Shunnoz Fiel & Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga of Projecto Mental 

What first sparked your interest in fashion?
Fashion is a very powerful visual art. It has the power to touch people´s emotions, bodies, desires and soul. We were very active artists before fashion. We were doing poetry, music, literature, spoken word. We then became inspired by what we saw in fashion as being an element of the art of decoration and self-expression. We then became interested in what we saw in fashion as an ability to influence people´s behaviour and mindset with clothes. We wanted to explore the use of fashion as a platform to express and let out all our emotions, views, and experiences.

What important elements inspired from your origins can we see in your creations?
African sartorial experience. We wanted to transfer to the collection some aspects geometric vision of African sartorial aesthetics. In Africa, fashion, classic or not, there is a flexible principle that allows plain and mixed forms and patterns to exist, co-exist, cooperate and create harmony. Fashion is viewed and represented in two dimensions.  

What can we expect from your catwalk at Pitti Immagine Uomo 88?
A well-constructed collection. A collection that stands in between the two cultures that we represent; Africa and Europe. A collection that people could look at and identify themselves, regardless of background or taste. Pieces that are not only exotic for the eyes, but also for the body.