A Look At Angola : Africa’s Fashion Entrepreneurs
Angola, as a fashion capital, could have potential. The country is experiencing great growth, strength, and development in its economy and has enjoyed a revenue increase of 4.9% since 2015. It is no wonder Angola sustains its place as one of the top 10 economies on the continent. But like in most emerging countries, retail entrepreneurs based on the continent face challenges because of poor infrastructure, inaccessibility of capital, a lack of education and/or access to reliable partners.
We (Adiree) have also experienced the unfortunate challenges and red tape wrapped around securing support for these leading fashion designers and like-minded creatives. For the past six years, we’ve developed retail and education-driven platforms accompanied by marketing campaigns (digital and traditional) that have elevated, or better yet, connected designers to global partners, consumers and credible media. Yet, the challenge of getting more support and funding continues. Worse, we experience organizations who have access to a large pool of funding, but only partner with us if we work on the barest of bones (minimal budget) to produce “quality platforms that help designers and creative brands from Africa enter into market .”
We know we are not alone in these dilemmas. After all we’ve evaluated, we wonder and marvel at how designers from Africa or who are based in Africa continue to excel given the lack of support from country-based organizations or concern for their value. We’ve sneaked a peek at a few of the excellent fashion designers coming out of Angola (a few we’ve worked with), who are soaring beyond the aforementioned challenges. Here are a few Angolan designers cutting across the tape, rising past the pile of empty promises and taking Africa to the world.
Being in the industry for over 20 years, Carla Silva is indisputably one of Angola’s top designers. By mixing African and European textiles, she expresses her talents through her unique designs. She constantly stays on top of popular trends by traveling to numerous fashion cities. She has dressed some of Angola’s biggest celebrities, musicians, and actors.
Congonlinho has embedded the process of creation into the makeup of their brand identity. The brand specializes in mixing contemporary styles within african inspired details. They are prominent for the quality of their products.
With a combination of nobility, spirituality and harmony, Dianthus D’kangala is the perfect fit for a gentlemen. He launched his brand in 2005 to provide a unique alternative to classic men’s style. Kangala’s creativity and quality sets him apart from many others. His fashion creations have been worn by numerous celebrities from TV appearances to celebrity wedding parties.
Vogue Italia calls her one of the most interesting designers to follow from Angola. Traditional African color with influences of fresh contemporary styles are the foundations of Rose Palhares’s design. Rose Palhares prides herself in creating the right pieces for every woman’s needs. Her distinct and exclusive designs have her listed on top as one of Angola’s best fashion brands.
A creation of three sisters, Beatrice, Clauetta, and Delfina, who were inspired by carrying their father’s name and representing his carpentery work through their designs. Their young, fresh and innovative designs won Best Young Namibian Entrepreneur and Designer when they started their company in 2002. Their first debut in New York showcased a plethora of lace and chiffon detailed fashion outs. Now with even more styles, Geraldo Fashions reigns as the vibrant brand of Angola (more about their brand here) .
Nadir Tati is Angola’s top evening wear brand. The influence of Angola’s strong tradition and culture are the base of her design. From $500 to $10,000 dresses, exclusivity is what makes Nadir Tati so successful. Her designs have been seen on the Angolan first lady, on the red carpet in the 2013 Oscars and at many more exclusive events. She lists Africa as her school and strives to tell the story of the continent through her work.
Gloria Silvia is known for using her brand platform to push educational efforts in Angola. She believes fashion in Angola creates opportunities for creatives and provides access to promote sales, growth and quality in the country. Her collections are a harmony between style and glamour. Her passion for expanding fashion in her country has placed her in the spotlight as one of Angola’s popular designers.
Soraya da Piedade:
Soraya da Piedade is a brand that truly represents the strong independent woman. She brings a distinct and unique style by focusing her designs on sophistication for all women. In 2015, her creations won Designer of the year and her empowering designs continue to stand out in Angola’s vibrant fashion Industry.
Lisete Pote is the face behind many great Angolan celebrity styles especially that of Miss. Universe. Her designs are extravagant and dramatic. She won the award for the Best Angolan Fashion Designer in 2016. She has a passion for Angola’s fashion industry and supports investments towards Angolan textile industry to further advance economic growth through fashion.