KISUA Takes African Talent Global-------
Two unique African voices, CEO Samuel Mensah and his partner, creative director Danica Lepen, will launch e-commerce site KISUA in early October, with the goal of bringing emerging and established African designs to the global market. “Even though we have a focus on creating globally marketable and well-priced garments, we have gone to great lengths to retain authenticity in our collections. As we expand and grow, we will look further into incorporating more and more specialized traditional African methods such as beading, dyeing, weaving and hand-printing,” Lepen tells Style.com.
For its initial launch, KISUA will offer fully funded “collaborative capsule lines” from ten designers across Africa, from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo. “With these ten designers, the starting point was to take a deeper look into what each of their design features and aesthetics are, and to see what elements we could take from that in order to create something new under the KISUA brand,” Lepen explains.
They’ve also successfully rallied the support of other powerful voices with ties to Africa, including designer Ozwald Boateng, Lagos fashion and design week founder Omoyemi Akerele, and Joop van der Meij, the former CEO of Vlisco, a leading manufacturer of African wax-print fabric. Each of these influencers sits on an advisory board to help the KISUA management team.
Additionally, the brand will set up the KISUA African Designer Fund to help provide monetary support to their designers’ businesses, and launch a content-filled portion of the site that gives a glimpse into Africa’s creative community. “We have a wide network of contributors from Africa and beyond,” Mensah says. “We promise to take the KISUA customer on a journey to experience contemporary African culture with stories ranging from fashion, music, art, and literature.”