With many retailers and small brand still suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, now is more important than ever to carry on supporting black-owned fashion brands, which is why you might want to check out KOIBIRD’s latest offering, which you can shop shop both online and in their London store.
The store, launched by founder Belma Gaudio, focuses on new destination each season, inspired by the collections of its brands. This season the store is focusing on African designers, though Belma admits the lockdown made things difficult.
‘Closing the store back in March was a hard thing to do, given we just reopened our newly refurbed store for the new season, a week prior to close. We pretty quickly directed our customers online and focused on the digital experience. Being a small company, we are still able to be reactive and change course pretty quickly. It did make me very sad that customers were not able to experience the immersive KOIBIRD experience in store, and this season we brought so many wonderful design talents that we scouted at Lagos Fashion Week.’, she said.
In typical KOIBIRD tradition, the store (now open) went through a dramatic monochromatic design transformation, inspired by an exhibition in Dakar by Senegalese artist, Babacar Mbodj Niang. The rails are full of clothing from the likes of Thebe Magugu, Lisa Folawiyo and Studio 189, and you can also shop a homeware selection with brands such as The Baba Tree Basket Company and try testers from African-owned brands such as EPARA and Skin Gourmet at our Pharmacy-K.
There are 30 brands and designers showcased in the pop-up, and here are just five highlighted by Belma (‘When attending Lagos Fashion Week, we were blown away by the talent, diversity and energy on show from African brands who were makes waves in regards to sustainability and slow fashion’).
He is a name within his own right, having won the LVMH Prize in 2019, and implements his heritage into each collection, through social commentary within the designs and keeping the production of his pieces in South Africa to support the burgeoning industry there.
She is a Nigerian designer famous for fusing Ankara fabrics with sensual modern tailoring and stunning embellishment.
The brand is an amazing advocate for conscious fashion and previously the winner of the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. Co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, these amazing women support female empowerment and educational opportunities in Ghana.
Johannesburg-based, Rich Mnisi gives us bold prints and sexy silhouettes with daring gender-fluid collections that are so perfectly matched to the Koibird girl. MaxHosa Africa, is an amazing brand that is influenced by their Xhosa culture and creates beautiful and distinctive graphic knitwear.
This was a brand we immediately fell in love with as it really stood out. They use history, pop culture and music and major influences and has such an amazing modern perspective. I think of it almost as an African Balenciaga – a mix of street, youth, pop culture and classicism all in one.
Stylist: Julia Sarr-Jamois
Model: Bibi Abdulkadir
Photographer: Ruth Ossai