The world was not ready for the moment when full-bodied, sensuously undulating 3D models sashayed down a virtual catwalk showcasing the formfitting and vibrantly coloured new collection from Hanifa Official, entitled #PinkLabelCongo.

Paying no mind to the collective stall of mainstream fashion houses who have halted operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anifa Mvenmba, designer and creative director of Hanifa Official delivered a masterclass in how to thrive in the face of adversity through her wonderfully executed fashion show which she live streamed on Friday 22 May through her Instagram account.

For those who don’t know about this wonderful brand, Hanifa, is described as limitless, feminine, innovative and a lifestyle that’s more than just about clothes, and more about the woman that’s wearing the clothes.

“When creating each piece, I was reminded of the stories my mother told me of the women she knew back home in Congo. Women who suffered great loss but still, mustered every ounce of strength every day to show up.”

Anifa, who started in the business when she was just 21, lives and breathes her brand as we saw through the spectacular showcase. Eight years later and she is rightly proud of the growth and has taken the opportunity to shine a light on a plight that is close to her heart. Anifa is proud of her Congo heritage, but her homeland is being ransacked in the search for coltan, a precious metal, that is used in the production of smartphones. More than 60% of the world’s supply of this natural resource is found in Congo, with the result that men, women and children are caught up in awful conditions due to the pursuit of mining this resource.

 

 

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Anifa is drawing attention to her people’s plight through her collection, and hopes to resurrect the “Gentleness, beauty, history, poise, majesty, strength, power, and hope of the Congolese spirit.”

Speaking about the inspirations behind her collection, Anifa said: “When creating each piece, I was reminded of the stories my mother told me of the women she knew back home in Congo. Women who suffered great loss but still, mustered every ounce of strength every day to show up. My hope is that this collection inspires all women to stand tall in their power and like the Democratic Republic of Congo, to use their history, whether pretty or painful — to redesign their future.”

The use of 3D to showcase her collection cleverly evoked the majesty and sensuousness of African royalty. The full-figured, strong imagery delivered her vision faithfully.

Anifa stayed true to her goal in the production and delivery of her virtual runway show. The use of 3D to showcase her collection cleverly evoked the majesty and sensuousness of African royalty. The full-figured, strong imagery delivered her vision faithfully.

Hanifa Official

Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa Official
Courtesy of Hanifa Official

Every aspect of the collection was thought through. As Anifa described in her showcase: “I’m so intentional about everything I do with this collection. If you’re African, then you know about African seamstresses and how detail is so important and colour is so important and prints are so important and so I really wanted to use that in the collection just to give tribute to all the African seamstresses out there, not just Congo specifically.”

“I did a lot of detailing. I did prints my own way, I did colour my own way and every single colour palette that we used in this collection has meaning to it, it has intention and a story behind it. One dress in particular, it has so much freedom in it and the colour palette that we used has red, blue and yellow and those are the colours of the flag. The red really means the pain, suffering, blood and all of the lives that have been lost, the blue means the peace and yellow, just like, the hope.”

To support the families affected by the crisis order a Colette T-shirt. 20% of proceeds will go to benefit the @sourcingnetwork who are doing the work to hold companies accountable for conflict-free mining in the DRC.


Shop #PinkLabelCongo here.

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