While global fashion houses scramble to innovate in the wake of COVID-19, Anifa Mvenmba of Hanifa Official stayed ready. Only weeks after teasing to a new collection with 3D models, the brand raised the standards with a virtual runway on Friday, May 22 streamed live from @hanifabridal. From the whimsical invite to the bold percussion-filled music, every element of this show challenged the current state of the fashion and asked fellow designers a simple question: Can you keep up?
The recent news about canceled fashion weeks and the overwhelming amount of big retailers filing for bankruptcy has left most designers in a tailspin. But while others were panicking, Mvenmba was educating herself, perfecting her talents, and plotting her pivot. The skills she taught herself during the stay-at-home orders were flawlessly executed during her Friday fashion show.
Full-bodied 3D models covered in deep reds, blues, and yellows with dynamic hemlines and eye-catching draping littered the small screen. Like her previous collections, Mvenmba continued to focus on the dips and bends of a woman's body while also paying homage to the culture of women that inspired this collection. Every print, color, and detail has value and a narrative. The intention behind this collection elevates it 1,000%. The mission and the consciousness that surrounds this collection is refreshing to behold.
The Pink Label Congo Collection is truly one of a kind; the kind that issues a challenge to the industry's biggest key players. Fashion can change the world if utilized the right way, and that's not lost on Mvenmba. At the beginning of her show, she said:
"I really wanted to shed light on the conditions. And I wanted this collection to support and benefit the families that are affected. …we're also part of the problem but we don't know it."
To me, the most beautiful part about this collection is the concern for Congo. The show is a history lesson for those unaware of the Congo, Colton, and the huge issues facing families in that region. In short, rebels are raping women and children are dying in the mines, as 60-70% of the world's source comes from Congo and sold through the black market. Mvenmba partnered with Sourcing Network to give 20% of profits from the Colette T-shirt to support Congolese families against illegal Colton mining.
It's difficult to be a force in an industry like fashion, where white-washed designers, models, and trends rise to the top. Mvenmba is a true visionary with the tenacity to change the status quo and challenge what brands stand for in 2020. We're sure to see more designers follow suit, but notice has been sent. Hanifa is officially the blueprint for the new fashion world.
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