Kuwala is an online boutique that curates unique and exclusive pieces from socially responsible fashion brands from across Africa. Launched by Freeda and Veronica, our aim is to make beautifully handcrafted pieces from talented fashion designers and ethical women’s cooperatives easily accessible to fashion conscious consumers.
It was only natural that the name of our business comes from our mother tongue of Chichewa, which is spoken in Malawi. The words “ku wala” mean “to shine” because we want our customers to shine with confidence in our ready to wear pieces knowing that they are supporting a greater cause.
Based in Toronto, we have been able to reach our customers through our e-commerce website (https://kuwala.co/) and pop-up shops around the city.
What type of designers does Kuwala showcase and sell? Any specific designers Kuwala loves?
We can’t name just one designer because we’ve enjoyed partnering with all the fashion brands we work with. Our customers love that the designers that we work with hand-make high quality and exclusive pieces. We originally started working with Ghanaian brands, but we’ve since expanded to Malawian and Kenyan fashion labels. We’re looking forward to expanding into other source countries, such as Senegal, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, just to name a few.
How do you guys go about picking brands whose products are featured and sold on Kuwala?
We get emails every week from fashion designers from Australia to Nigeria interested in being represented by Kuwala and selling their designs on our website. We ask that designers submit the requested information listed on our New Designer page: http://kuwala.co/pages/new-designers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we receive the information, we check out their lookbooks and try to learn as much about the brand as we can. Since we sometimes can’t get a sample, quality images are important and making high-quality products is even more important. We want Kuwala to be a stepping-stone for emerging African brands to reach international markets.
How does a prospective fashion designer who will love their designs showcased and sold on Kuwala go about it?
We encourage designers interested in working with us to learn more of what Kuwala is all about. If Kuwala’s values match up with yours and you’re dedicated to promoting the growth of an ethical African fashion industry, we’re definitely interested in showcasing your designs. We really want to promote that beautiful high-quality pieces can be produced ethically in Africa, so we strongly emphasize that the designers we work with are dedicated to delivering quality craftsmanship.
Are you guys showcasing at any upcoming events or having any pop up shops?
Kuwala will be at Habari festival at Harbourfront Centre from August 14 to 16. Check out our blog frequently for future pop-up shop announcements: https://kuwala.co/blogs/news/tagged/pop-up-shop
And to end this short interview, what’s your vision for Kuwala in the next 5 years?
Our vision is for Kuwala to be the one-stop shop for major African fashion labels from across the continent.
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