Fashion can be an incredible way of selling a vision of modern Africa. We can promote traditional African culture through art and fashion.
Alara Luxury Fashion
Reni Folawiyo is a Nigerian business entrepreneur and founder of Alara. Alara is a contemporary African design project, which includes fashion, design, and art. It is also a celebration of Africa’s excellence today and how it looks. The brand takes a lot from African culture, current designs, and look into how it can help grow the new brand Africa in the world.
The word itself, Alara, means a wondrous performer, someone who thrills endlessly. This is the concept Reni carried into the business from the beginning. When she began, she felt Africa has so much culturally, which the world did not know about. Therefore, Reni wanted to bring something on the table that would thrill continually. Therefore, the brand went for items with stories and things that are beautiful and glamourous.
“Our intention was and still is to say to the world that we could be beautifully glamourous. We appreciate beautiful things and want to buy and live with them,” says Reni
Partnership and Creating Stories
Alara fashion deals with different customers in the market. The typical customer, this one would buy luxury items from any store, mostly well-to-do customers. They also sell to customers who are in the middle market, that are looking for products to grow into a luxury customer. They have young customers who buy into the vision of new Africa and who want to be part of it; therefore, they get products for them.
They also partner with an event where people want to express themselves like street brands and musicians too. They aim to get young people who will come and buy the business vision and inspire them to understand where they could go in whatever they want to do.
The Vision of New Africa and Creating Stories.
Retail keeps changing, and everybody wants to know more and make more of an impact on whoever is making products. There is a whole idea of sustainability that’s is growing. Africa has so many stories to tell such that we are an ideal place where we can tell stories, exchange them, and make them meaningful.
Cultural Appropriation in Fashion World.
The issue of cultural appropriation affects many distributors in the fashion industry. Reni Folawiyo believes that for culture to grow, there must be an exchange to have a richer and more interesting fashion. However, she also believes that it needs to be respectful and be benefiting the people in Africa as well. Therefore, if an individual wants to use an African concept, use it respectfully and also in a way that benefits people in Africa. Most of the issue of cultural appropriation that comes up is due to people using culture in a direct way that is insensitive to its people.
“I don’t think borrowing from another culture is negative. There is a way that you could do it that can be respectful and acknowledges how great the culture is.” Says Reni.
The Future of African Content.
In the future, the protection of intellectual copyright will become more important in African designs, fashion, and food. In Africa, there are already designers who have to do that. Designers also have a lot of trademarks, copyright of ideas happening recently in the fashion industry. Lastly, we look forward to new and glamourous Africa.