This new e-commerce platform tells the stories of African fashion

African fashion designers are gaining traction like never before yet their collections often remain difficult to find internationally. The Folklore aims to change that with an e-commerce platform that not only ships globally but also allows designers to narrate their own stories to the world.

Creative entrepreneur Amira Rasool first hit on the idea when she moved from New York to Cape Town in 2017 for a Masters in African Studies. Initially she thought about starting a business that would incorporate European brands but as she explored the South African and Nigerian fashion scenes, she became enamoured by the underserved designers she came across. “It makes no sense that other people cannot have the same shopping experiences that I’ve had, or that these designers have been featured in Vogue and BOF yet buyers aren’t knocking on their door,” Rasool says. Thus, with her newly launched digital concept store she aims to bring light to labels that deserve a well curated presence online.

She launched The Folklore last month during New York Fashion Week with a pop-up shop. Among her line-up are better-known names such as Orange Culture, Selfi, Tokyo James, Loza Maléombho, MaxHosa and Pichulik as well as newer labels including Onalaja and Waif. The aesthetic of the platform is based on Rasool’s personal preference for minimalism and the idea that every piece featured is a staple that can go well together. Meanwhile editorial content delves into the worlds of music and culture that surround African-inspired style. “The site allows each designer to have their own identity but it is also business-focussed. It’s not just about looking cool, it has to be functional and professional and easy to shop,” she says. “I want to position these designers in such a way that gives them visibility and awareness among consumers.”

The global fashion scene is changing rapidly and thus online luxury retailers must be agile and transparent in order to remain relevant. Rasool is already seeing interest from around the world on the strength of the designers as much as the ethos of her own brand. “I’m definitely not labelling this as ‘This Is Africa’. It’s more that these are African designers who you should recognise and hear from - this is their folklore.”

Direction Jesse Navarre Vos
Styling Amira Rasool
Assistance Danielle Paul, Zizipho Ntobongwana
Photography direction Ryan Janssens
Make-up Amori Birch
Models Anyon Asola, Eileen Matiass

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