Africa’s creative women fashionpreneurs are putting the continent on the global map through their unique designs and approach to entrepreneurship and all this month Lionesses of Africa is celebrating the continent’s leading women in the business of fashion.
Every month at Lionesses of Africa, we shine a spotlight on a particular industry sector where Africa’s women entrepreneurs are making a real impact, through their businesses, their innovation, their products, services and craftsmanship, and their passion for what they do. This month (April), we are turning our attention to the truly inspirational African Women Fashionpreneurs, those innovative pioneers of the fashion world who are putting the continent on the global map through their uniquely African yet world-class designs and approach to fashion retailing.
A growing number of incredibly talented, creative, innovative and pioneering women fashionpreneurs on the continent are building businesses and fashion labels that are making the world sit up and take notice. All this month at Lionesses of Africa, we are featuring and paying tribute to some of these amazing African Women Fashionpreneurs whose unique sense of style and creativity we love. They are both inspirational and practically making such a difference to the fashion landscape on the African continent.
Here are just a small number of the many African Women Fashionpreneurs who are inspiring us this month:
Take for example, the founders of Bold Kampala (Ngyenzi ‘Nunu’ Mugyenyi, Angel Kalisa and Janet Mugume) who are changing the face of retail fashion in Africa; Deola Sagoe, the leading lady of African haute couture fashion; Juliana Nasasira, the founder of leading Ugandan men’s and women’s fashion design brand, Kwesh; sisters Natalie and Kim Ellis, the founders of organically and ethically minded South African slow fashion brand, The Joinery; Carine-Zoe Umutoni, founder of distinctive fashion brand ONYX, Rwanda; Brigit Wasike and Sophie Umazi Mvurya, founders of House of Tahzi, Kenya; and Nobesuthu Ndlovu, co-founder of fashion retail house Burgundy Fly (South Africa). Each of these African Women Fashionpreneurs are leading the continent’s drive to bring a new approach to fashion design, retail and brand-building in Africa - and we are so inspired by what they are doing.
"I strongly believe that Rwanda has a very rich culture with an artistic side to it, and I am determined to put the country on the world fashion map."
- Sonia Mugabo, founder of Sonia Mugabo (SM), Rwanda
“With a love for the fashion industry, combined with minimal savings and a huge leap of faith, we opened BOLD Kampala. Our mission is to increase the awareness, appreciation and active support of African fashion brands, both locally and internationally.”
- Ngyenzi ‘Nunu’ Mugyenyi, co-Founder of Bold Kampala, Uganda
“African designers need to celebrate their cultural roots and fashion history in order to become globally competitive.”
- Deola Sagoe, founder of African haute couture fashion house, Deola, Nigeria
“The decision to pursue fashion was brought on mainly by the realisation that it wasn’t ‘too late’ to go after what I’d always dreamed of doing, and that a career in fashion could be profitable in Uganda. Being an entrepreneur in a field that I love is a blessing. It allows me the freedom to be creative every day.”
- Juliana Nasasira, founder of Ugandan fashion label, Kwesh
“We believe in a fashion industry that values people, environment, creativity, sustainability, and it is everyone's responsibility to ensure that this happens.”
- Kim and Natalie Ellis, founders of The Foundry, and supporters of Fashion Revolution South Africa
“Developing a distinctive fashion brand which celebrates African fabric and inspiration with contemporary design that reflects the uniqueness of Rwanda, is what makes ONYX as a brand stand out in the marketplace.”
- Carine-Zoe Umutoni, founder of distinctive fashion brand ONYX, Rwanda
"Our similar vision for Kenyan fashion as a trend influencer in the global fashion world bore fruit to our partnership, where we combined both our lines to form House of Tahzi.”
- Brigit Wasike and Sophie Umazi Mvurya, founders of House of Tahzi, Kenya
"We are South Africa's Fashion Window To The World: a clothing boutique chain that retails the finest fashion created by South Africa’s top designers and a gallery for designers to showcase their talents and express their love for the art."
- Nobesuthu Ndlovu, co-founder of Burgundy Fly, South Africa
At Lionesses of Africa, we also encourage everyone visiting our website and social media platforms to nominate those African Women Fashionpreneurs that inspire them, and we will happily profile them during the coming weeks. Our month-long Focus on African Women Fashionpreneurs is all about showcasing the best and most inspirational women in the fashion industry and their businesses, so be part of the process and make a difference to a woman fashionpreneur that inspires you.