Accelerator 2021

Founded in 2008 by Aisha Obuobi, Christie Brown is one of Ghana’s most distinctive luxury houses and is a truly neo-African fashion brand.

Over the past decade, Christie Brown has been at the forefront of the premium fashion scene in Ghana, redefining the boundaries of what was considered possible in the women’s ready-to-wear market.

Through an active digital marketing strategy, Christie Brown has gained international recognition with American icons such as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.

Christie Brown is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

Born in Brazil and raised in Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, Loza graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After completing her studies, she began her career as a fashion designer in New York at Zara, Diesel, and then Bloomingdale with designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley. In 2009, she founded a fashion brand under her own name in Ivory Coast.

Celebrated by international fashion professionals, selected in the first list of Vogue Talents (Vogue Italy), she was ranked 7th by Forbes Africa on the list of the 30 most promising young African entrepreneurs under 30. She also dressed Beyonce’s dancers in one of her videos and is one of Solange Knowles’s favourite designers.

Loza Maléombho is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

Simone Sidibé and Gina Kakou-Marceau, two friends combine their passion for fashion and the arts to create Simone & Elise in 2017.

The luxury ready-to-wear brand, which celebrates sophisticated and elegant women, was inspired by former Ivorian first lady Marie-Thérèse Houphouët-Boigny known as the ‘black Jackie Kennedy’ in the post-independence years. Their designs have been popularized on social media.

Simone & Elise has a showroom in Abidjan and is present in the major African capitals (Libreville, Dakar, Accra, Pointe-Noire).

© Mickael Photo
© Oronce photography

Aristide Loua, founder and creative director of Kente Gentlemen is from Ivory Coast. He is passionate about so many things, such as writing, photography, fashion, history music and travel.

In 2017, he created Kente Gentlemen brand; a platform in which he can exist and express himself in these areas. In an interconnected world, Kente Gentlemen is a mean to discover, value, celebrate, and foster Aristide diverse sociocultural heritage and identities through fashion, aesthetics, photography, and other visual arts. It’s only fair that he and his team embrace and portray those rightful attributes to the global village we all belong to.

Kente Gentlemen is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

© Paul-Marie Akoh
© Paul-Marie Akoh

The mille collines story begins in Kigali in 2008 when the paths of two passionate women crossed: Antoinette, a Rwandan seamstress who owned an atelier and Ines, a Spanish design student.They both shared the same vision; a belief that uniting talents would lead to creating groundbreaking products in Africa. Antoinette opened her atelier and team of artisans to Ines so she could create a first apparel collection that would become her university thesis.

In 2009, Ines’s friend and designer Marc joined her in Rwanda and together they worked on developing the idea further and co-founded the brand. mille collines’ journey has been unique, as it has taken them through Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa. This is one of the brands’ defining features – a staple of their design aesthetic, as every country they produce in continues to influence their brand and designs.

mille collines is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

© Jesse Fine
© David Dini

Niyi is a nigerian/american designer, born in Lagos and raised in Houston, Texas. Niyi studied fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design.

POST-IMPERIAL is an aesthetic expression of mythmaking, evaluating cultural futures through the lens of Fashion. Founded in 2012, this expression is rooted in the African diaspora, the theory theory of humanizing materials to establish ethical responsibility and the creative collaboration between artisans, matter, and the environment. Post-Imperial collections are designed as opportunities to set a new standard of design without over romanticizing the past.

The brand uses the age-old dye technique Adire (a hand dyeing process developed by the Yorubas in the Southwest region of Nigeria), to present its designs. Due to the nature of the process, each final product varies in uniqueness giving them a one-of-a- kind artisanal feel.

POST-IMPERIAL is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

© Karl-Edwin Guerre

MMUSO MAXWELL is a fashion brand based in Johannesburg South Africa, founded in 2016 by Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane. The duo met through an internship program, having similar interest, views and aesthetic relating to design, they decided to join forces to strengthen their aesthetic and amplify the voice of their brand.

At the core, MMUSO MAXWELL is a ready-to-wear high end women’s-wear brand. Ethically creating garments inspired by African heritage and contemporary culture with a particular emphasis on tailoring to complement the modern woman. Accentuating detail, practicality and wearability through a well considered and sustainable design process that gives a sense of value and quality.

MMUSO MAXWELL is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

RICH MNISI is a South African based contemporary multi-disciplinary brand founded in 2015 by Rich Mnisi, the Essence Best in Black Fashion Awards’ Emerging Designer of the Year for 2019 and Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2019 inductee.

Initially, a creative outlet for Mnisi, hoping to unearth Africa’s hidden treasures while also being youthful, contemporary and modern. The brand was born from Mnisi’s yearning to connect deeper with his unique culture and heritage and tell a compelling story through his art – a story of a mysterious past, intriguing present, and reimagined future.

The brand is the artistic manifestation of a bold vision – a vision inspired by sources outside of the realm of fashion, including film, music, art, and nature. It is completely immersive while being pointedly measured, traversing almost seamlessly between the known and unknown, constantly seeking to evolve.

RICH MNISI is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

THIS IS US™ was founded by Oroma Cookey Gam, a fashion and retail expert, creative director, and designer & Osione Itegboje, a public policy consultant, communication expert and creative director.

The brand was born with one simple desire, to show that Nigerian design can be of a really high quality that everyone in Nigeria and abroad can be proud of. The brand is designed based on the context around them, seeking always to use local materials, talents and processes to create cool and functional design objects.

The journey started with Funtua cotton, with the founders being really curious about Nigerian fabric that was indigenous and synonymous with Nigeria but also that could be sustainably and professionally made locally. The result is the most beautiful indigo dyed fabric that’s woven in Funtua, Katsina, and hand dyed in Kano at the centuries old Kofar Mata Dye pits.

THIS IS US is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

Akudo Iheakanwa is the creative director and co-founder of SHEKUDO. Born in Australia to a Nigeria father and Australian mother, Akudo relocated to Lagos in 2017 to contribute to the footwear manufacturing sector. Shekudo was officially launched in 2018.

Shekudo, founded in Sydney, Australia, began as a women’s clothing brand – drawing on heritage, life experiences and a wearable art aesthetic. Now under the sole creative direction of Akudo Iheakanwa, the brand relaunched into footwear and accessories moving its base across the Indian Ocean to commence production in Lagos, Nigeria.

With this move, the brand hoped to shed more light on the local artisan and craftsmanship scene whilst integrating some of the age old techniques and overlooked local resources into its own contemporary aesthetic.

SHEKUDO is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

The Umòja adventure began in 2017 founded by Dieuveil Ngoubou and Lancine Koulibaly.At the time, Dieuveil was a student at the University of Brest and Lancine an insurance executive in Paris. In search of meaning and solutions to their consumption patterns, they were already aware, with great concern, that they were very (too much) influenced by the codes of industrial overproduction with actors left on the sidelines.

With this in mind, they decided to leave everything behind to embark on an adventure in an environment that they, two former university students, did not master.

Umòja, means “unity” in Swahili, is an approach that combines artisanal expertise and textile innovation in an attempt to provide green alternatives in a very opaque textile industry. To look for solutions and bridge the gap between the different skills and expertise.The objective was clear: to ensure a production that respects their environment (ecological, economic, human) in every way.

UMÒJA is currently part of the 2021-2022 IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program.

© Charlaine Croguennec
© Charlaine Croguennec
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