This Site Gives Independent African Designers a Global Platform
Industrie Africa leverages technology to connect designers on the continent with luxury style lovers around the world.
When Tanzanian curator and storyteller Nisha Kanabar founded Industrie Africa, her mission was to challenge misconceptions about her homeland and introduce consumers to African high fashion. Since 2018, the online store has made it possible to shop the best designs from across the continent: sculptural swimsuits from Nigerian label Andrea Iyamah, artful resort wear from Tanzanian designer Doreen Mashika, head-turning hats from South African milliner Crystal Birch, and more.
But beyond creating an e-commerce site, Kanabar also wanted to provide education for shoppers and exposure for designers. That's why Industrie recently launched IA Connect — a platform that includes a comprehensive designer index with in-depth spotlights on more than 80 emerging and established fashion figures. These include Nigerian textile artist Lisa Folawiyo, South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi, and Kenyan jeweler and silversmith Ami Doshi Shah; each page has a detailed overview of the creator and their brand, along with look books, contact info, accolades, and press coverage.
In addition, IA Connect features the first-ever African Fashion Calendar, a lineup of the most important industry events on the continent and beyond, from the Lagos Leather Fair to Kampala Fashion Week.
"IA Connect will be an authoritative resource, taking what we're already doing and going a step further, digging a little deeper," Kanabar says. "Industry insiders are finally able to navigate the African fashion landscape in an intuitive, professionalized way. And locally, we're able to support the next generation of talent."
A version of this story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline The World of Fashion Is Getting Wider.