Posted by: beninmwangi | May 8, 2007

Urban Design Meeting African Fashion

frederic-tape-photo.jpg

Listen Now

This audio interview accompanies the press release that was published on beninmwangi.com on April 11, 2007.

An interview between Benin Mwangi of beninmwangi.com and Frederic Tape of Africaincorp. The discussion centers around African fashion and the upcoming launch of the Enrique Pierre Clothing Line.

This press release came to me by way of fellow Africa blogger Frederic Tape. Of course, we already knew what a wonderful blogger he is, writing with such flair and originality. But as it turns out, he is also quite the business person, as well and is involved with a fashion design company here in the States (Virginia) called Stockpile of Southern Urbanity Enrique Pierre Clothing.

Stockpile of Southern Urbanity Enrique Pierre Clothing ( www.enriquepierre.com) is the new fashion concept that is set to land in the United States market. Enrique Pierre Clothing is the offspring of New entrants to the fashion industry Enrique Pascal & Pierre-Louis who fuse Southern comfy style with very avant-garde decorative designs.

EPC couples its fashion aptitude with affordable prices for its customers. ‘ The focus of our production is to attain quality on each piece of clothing, while maintaining low cost of production which translates into affordable pricing for our customers.’ says Pierre ECP’s cofounder.

The product lines will be targeted towards women who want refinement in simplicity. Additionally, the spokesperson for the company, Mr. Frederic Tape indicates that there is a good chance that some or most of their fabrics might be sourced from Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Also it should be noted that he believes that, right now, the time is right for other urban designers to start seriously considering the African continent for fabrics. Mr. Tape stresses that whilst the fabric markets are still developing, both in finance and infrastructure, that the opportunities for urban designers may extend far beyond sourcing fabrics.

African Fashion links

here is a post on African fabrics

An example of an African clothing line

Catch African fashion at it’s source at Annansi Chronicles

Respresenting Africa’s models

Urban fashion

 

Forward thinking footwear and hip hop inspired

Kanye’s in South Africa sporting newest fashions

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Responses

  1. Hello Benin, thanks for the interview and the opportunity to have that discussion. Let’s hope that the discussion does stop here and that this transfer of production of Urbanwear to Africa becomes a reality, it has been reported that a sportbrand has outsourced production of its socks and the likes to Ghana. Eastern and southern nations such as Mauritius,Lesotho,South Africa have build up enough infrastructure in that industry to become relevant players.
    Africa based designers must also be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to produce for the Pan-African market as well as the international market.
    They should not limit themselves to bridewear ,dashikis and traditional wear( even if upgraded) They must understand the market demographic,most African fashion consumers are young ( under 30) with a different cultural reference.
    I bet a million bucks that the design house that will find the right balance of hipness and Africanness will take both markets by storm. A good example of that is what Adidas just did or what French designers have been doing for years.
    I myself have an idea for a fashion label targeting the African urbanite that will produce from Africa and distribute throughout key African centers and global cities. That would be for another time,I will make some baby steps before leapfrogging my way.

    Good day.
    Have a good day.

  2. Hello,

    Thanks for your blog on African entrpreneurship. I am Congolese and recently went back to DRC after a long hiatus. I cam back to the States with an idea of producing a clothing line at home and selling it in the U.S. market. I have come across some hurdles though in terms of sourcing material and equipment and also in exporting from DRC. If anyone has any ideas, it would greatly be appreciated. China was mentioned as a possible source, and I did see alot of Chinese in Kinshasa, I guess I just need to get in touch with some of these companies.

    Its about time that the fashion of Africa and the talent gets the much needed International exposure that it deserves. That is my goal, as well as creating jobs that will be translated into empowerment.

    PLease contact at kmate@hotmail.com

    Thanks.

    Kahindo

  3. Kahindo:

    Hello there, you are much welcomed. It’s good to hear from someone from the Congo saying that they want to invest hard earned USD into Congo.

    Please, if you don’t mind me being a little curious have you ever considered import AND export of clothing to and from Congo? I ask because from what I have repeatedly been told the domestic fashion and clothing market demand in the Congo is one of the hottest on the Continent (thanks to the Sapeurs).

    Also, I think that your question is very good and there are two people that I have in mind who might be able to help you. One is the gentleman who did this interview with me-Frederic Tape and the other is Kofi Annan who writes at the Annansi Chronicles and owns a fashion company.

    I will try to see if they can respond to you directly. Thanks and please continue to keep us updated on your fashion business developments.

  4. Kahindo:

    Thanks for the comment. I believe that Frederic might be able to answer your question better than I. If not he may be able to point you in the right direction. Thanks for speaking your mind too.

    There are opportunities, as you say both here and in the Congo. When you get a chance, will you tell me about the Sapeurs fashion movement that is taking place in the Congo?

    Thanks a lot!

  5. hello Benin, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share my opinion and have this dialogue with you. I hope that the dialogue does not die off and we can get some feedback on the state of the textile,garment, fabric and merchandising industry in Africa. We need to hear abouth southern and eastern Africa as well as western Africa.
    Anybody knows about the investment made in the Cotton industry of major growers in Africa?
    Could we also hear from an economist or statistician about major importers of African Cotton and textile?
    Who knows the nature of the outsourcing industries in Lesotho,Mauritius,Ghana,South Africa,kenya,Malawi etc..

    I think that the timing is right to have design house emerging from Africa penetrate the Pan-African market as well as the global market, who will have the gusto,the vision and the courage to do it ?

    on another note , To do a interview is not easy, I am going to sharpen my skills for the next occasion.

  6. Urban Design Meeting African Fashion « beninmwangi.com

    the time is right for r urban designers to start seriously considering the African continent for fabrics. Mr. Tape stresses that whilst the fabric markets are still developing, both in finance and infrastructure, that the opportunities for urban design…

  7. Good interview Benin. I think Frederic was really able to touch on the areas which are important to producing an apparel line. The time is certainly right for Afriurban clothing labels – as Mr. Tape calls them – to get some attention…..and sales.

    The major hurdle in organizing the African apparel industry, from growers to retailers, has to do with financing. While there are many designers willing to produce stellar collections, the access to the right resources and the money to put the pieces together is the reason the African apparel industry is still struggling. As with many other industries, we have the raw materials, and the talent to get the job done, however we lack the financing to allow the industry to really compete with the likes of China. There are some exciting programs which I mentioned on my blog here which lead me to believe that the road might not be so long though. African designers will just have to be REALLY creative in the production area for now.

    Kahindo
    It’s good to see that you are doing the research to produce your own line. I can tell you from experience that it is not easy putting together a line in the USA let alone in the DRC. However, it’s not impossible either. I would encourage you to use whatever resources you have to come up with about 5 different designs which represent your vision for your line. If you have to buy a blank t-shirt from a store and alter it, do that. Once you’ve done so, shop it around to friends, family, and strangers. Going through the process of putting your designs together, however simply, and attempting to sell them will provide you with great feedback on what you need to keep or change in your designs and if there’s a market for them. It’s a lot of trial and error at first, so be patient. Don’t try to get a a full line, including jackets and denim, together at first unless you have the money to burn. :-). If you solidify the idea first, you’ll be more successful at narrowing down the best source of production. And remember that there’s no rush to sell everywhere at once. Check out the site How To Start A Clothing Line From Scratch for some information on putting together an urban line. Email me at blog(at)annansi.com if you have any other questions.

    Benin,
    I sent you an email. Hit me back when you can.

  8. Frederic:

    You are very welcome, the pleasure was all mine and you did an excellent job.

    Kofi:

    Thanks for expanding on starting a clothing line. Those are exclusive insights coming from a bonafide clothing designer so to you who are reading and thinking of starting a clothing line, please take heed.

    Kahindo:

    I hope that this information has been useful for you. Thanks again for stopping by.

  9. […] Benin Mwangi discusses urban design and African fashion with Frederic Tape of Africaincorp. Share […]

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  11. Noli Irritare and Global Voices:

    Thanks for the good citations, that really means a lot to me.

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