Introducing the All-New Folklore Connect
Words by The Folklore Team
When The Folklore was established in 2018 by founder and CEO Amira Rasool, it began as an online retail concept stocking high-end and emerging designer brands from Africa and the diaspora, serving as a cultural hub for contemporary brands, artists and creatives to showcase their personal stories.
Behind the selectively curated line of products showcasing the diversity of Africa’s contemporary urban design aesthetic – from brands such as Andrea Iyamah, Orange Culture and Lisa Folawiyo – was the desire to enhance the visibility and financial success of the African garment industry while exposing a global customer base to new designers and styles, some of which were previously unavailable to purchase online or beyond of Africa.
Earlier this year, The Folklore rebranded as a business-to-business wholesale platform for retailers and wholesale buyers to discover and connect with designer brands from Africa and the diaspora.
Following a five-month beta test that was piloted by 21 African brands, The Folklore Connect launches today with open access to its tools that are designed to help diverse brands in emerging markets scale their wholesale business, and to provide retailers with a marketplace to discover and shop these brands. Due to demand, The Folklore is also expanding its regional coverage beyond Africa to include diverse brands in emerging markets such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.
“We started out with designers from Africa and the diaspora,” says Rasool, “but many of these infrastructure problems are true in other parts of the world, like South America and Southeast Asia. Which is why we’re now opening up our platform to designers from across these regions, too.”
The new Connect launch expands on the company’s initial mission to showcase the vast talent and creativity of the continent’s burgeoning luxury fashion industry while creating social and economic growth opportunities for the designers and brands within it. The platform will provide diverse brands looking to grow their wholesale operations with access to retailers, department and concept stores around the world, including boutiques T.A. New York and McMullen.
With a curated roster of leading contemporary designers, The Folklore Connect launches with more than 60 brands from Africa and the diaspora, including David Tlale, Emmy Kasbit and Kilentar, all originating from emerging markets such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Portugal.
“We’ve built this platform with diverse and emerging brands at the forefront, and not as an afterthought,” Rasool says. “Our mission is to empower diverse brands in emerging markets by using technology and community to connect brands and retail partners.”
The digital tools featured on Connect include virtual showrooms, wholesale order management, two-way messaging between brands and retailers, a retailer and brand discovery marketplace and streamlined online payment, with payment providers tailored to the needs of businesses in emerging markets.
The Folklore Group’s other commerce platform, The Folklore Marketplace, is a shopping aggregator with an online directory that enables customers to search and shop directly from the retailers stocking the products.
As the diverse fashion landscapes in Africa and the diaspora, as well as the emerging regions of Latin America and Southeast Asia, continue to grow, The Folklore Connect aims to be at the forefront of the industry’s development as a pivotal tool that drives connection, collaboration and commerce in a meaningful and modern way.