7 Emerging Womenswear Brands New to The Folklore Connect
Words by Siima Itabaaza
Since its inception in 2018, the desire to represent and showcase the creativity and talent of up-and-coming designers from Africa’s burgeoning fashion industry has been at the center of The Folklore’s mission.
With a purpose to highlight the next frontier of designer brands from Africa, the diaspora and other markets within Latin America and Southeast Asia, our wholesale platform The Folklore Connect is designed to enhance the visibility of these growing brands on the global stage.
From retailers looking to diversify the offerings in their boutiques or department stores, to consumers who want to add pieces by minority-owned brands to their wardrobes, The Folklore Connect is the place to discover and shop new designers from regions such as Nigeria, Canada, Ghana and Kenya, some of which were previously unavailable to purchase online or beyond of their native boundaries.
Each week, The Folklore Connect adds up to 20 diverse designers to its roster, exposing them to a new base of potential retail buyers and consumers across the globe, through conscious commerce solutions and technology.
We are thrilled to introduce seven ready-to-wear womenswear lines that have recently been added to our wholesale platform. Whether experimenting with proportion and reimagining classics for a modern audience, these woman-owned brands push boundaries and write their own design language for the modern era. Read on to get to know these designers.
01. Israella Kobla
Minimalism, bold femininity and slow fashion are at the heart of Toronto-based brand Israella Kobla. British-Ghanaian founder and creative director Emefa Kuadey’s civil engineering background and architectural shapes influence the brand’s understated design aesthetic.
From modern takes on the Little Black Dress to smartly tailored jumpsuits, each Israella Kobla piece highlights an appreciation for timeless design, and modern fashion.
Discover Israella Kobla on Connect
Founded in 2015 by Funke Asinobi-Ola, Ijeoma Jibunoh and Abisose Ola, The FIA Factory is a Lagos-based label whose pieces are defined by playful patterns with a slight edge. The design trio take inspiration from contemporary African prints and traditional dress, designing with the trendy, eclectic woman in mind.
One of FIA’s signature designs is the Poof dress, which gets its name from its voluminous sleeves and oversized silhouette. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Monalisa Chinda, and Angela Simmons are just some of the names that have donned garments created by the brand.
Discover FIA on Connect
In just a little over a year since it was founded in June 2021 by Oríré Aleshinloye, womenswear label Oríré has established itself as a contemporary brand that is committed to artisanal craftsmanship and conscious production. From cocktail dresses to coordinating separates that express artistic flair and femininity, Oríré’s designs are produced in small runs at its Lagos-based studio, using sustainable fabrics such as recycled wool, crepe and silk.
The brand also offers a made-to-order service, providing flexibility and custom fits for clients and reducing excess waste at the same time. Oríré’s ethos is built on creativity, quality, innovation and social responsibility.
Discover Oríré on Connect
04. Duaba Serwa
Originally established in 2011 as a jewelry brand, Ghanaian brand Duaba Serwa has since evolved into an award-winning womenswear label that offers elegant pieces that are characterised by modern influences and contemporary sensibilities.
Self-taught designer Nelly Hagan-Deegbe uses luxurious silks, handwoven fabrics and a vibrant color palette to create the brand’s trademark origami folds and triangular pleating. The combination of intricate details, tactile textures and structural construction results in innovative pieces with a visually striking sartorial language.
Discover Duaba Serwa on Connect
The brainchild of Reni Kekere-Ekun, Rendoll was established in June 2019 in Nigeria as a contemporary fashion label for women of all shapes and sizes. The brand’s visual code is defined by kaleidoscopic marble prints and plissé fabrics rendered in dresses and coordinating sets in bold, statement colors that aim to imbue the wearer with a dose of confidence.
Existing at the intersection of luxury and affordability, Rendoll is built on the foundation of considered design that emphasizes body positivity and comfort without compromising on style.
Discover Rendoll on Connect
06. Nola Black
Arinola Olowoporoku established Nola Black in 2017 to highlight “complex emotion and the ever-evolving global perspective of progressive African women.” Edginess, modernism and individualism define the brand’s design ethos, which are displayed in the collections featuring a range of styles, including patterned mesh two-piece sets, floral embellished dresses and cut-out tops.
Employing slow fashion and sustainable production processes, Nola Black’s stated mission is to promote a culture of conscious consumption that counters fast fashion with intentional, elegant designs that are created with longevity in mind.
Discover Nola Black on Connect
07. The Lulo Project
Colombian-born Martha J Nieto created loungewear brand The Lulo Project based on four core principles of comfort, diversity, sustainability, and inclusiveness. The result is a range of relaxed pieces that are not sweatpants or hoodies, made for those who want to feel at home wherever they go. From colorful separates to flowing one-shoulder dresses, The Lulo Project’s stylish garments are designed to be worn in and out of the house.
The brand prides itself on its participation in the slow fashion movement, and is committed to small production runs and having 50% of its fabrics made from natural or sustainable sources such as silk, viscose, linen, cotton and Tencel.
Discover The Lulo Project on Connect