Hanifa Debuts Digital Collection

“For women without limits”

As restrictions brought on by the pandemic gradually lessen, and as we lethargically cycle in some ‘real’ clothes to our everyday attire, we’re all wondering what’s next? How do we move forward, reconciling a ‘return to normal’ in a world where ‘normal’ ceases to exist? 

For those within the design industry, the answer might just be found in Anifa Mvuemba’s latest collection, featured on Instagram Live (@hanifaofficial) this past week. 3D modeling allows the pieces to carry themselves down a virtual runway, an innovative (and accessible) approach to creation in a digital era. 

The digital aspect had been planned long before the pandemic, conveying a sense of authenticity: as Mvuemba tells Teen Vogue, “ “I want these pieces to tell a story of meaning. I want them to remind us to be intentional about what we create. Not for clout or for Instagram likes, but for the sake of meaning what we say by storytelling through our designs.” Instagram, which has recently taken strides to become a premier fashion site, became the platform to facilitate the exchanges of meaning Mvuemba describes. Users from a wide array of backgrounds conglomerated as the ‘audience’, with many taking screen recordings to later share. 

The result? The Hanifa collection has gone viral (more than once), setting the blueprint for upcoming releases under quarantine, and those after. 

For Mvuemba, the reception certainly merits an elated response, yet what’s more important is the legacy she’s actively working towards. The Congolese designer has continually aimed to pay homage to Black women, particularly those in Africa, using part of the livestream to raise awareness towards issues faced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rather than characterizing African women as victims, or fostering some saviorist complex, Mvuemba alludes to their strength and resilience, stating her “hope is that this collection inspires all women to stand tall in their power and like the Democratic Republic of Congo, to use their history, whether pretty or painful — to redesign their future.”

A standout dress is emboldened by the Congo’s flag colors, while others feature scenes of a natural landscape. All pieces conjure vivid abstractions, a testament to Le coeur de l’Afrique (the Heart of Africa), and the alluring femininity within. Shop the Pink Label Congo Collection here.

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