Introducing: Koki Kamala by Koki Chiepe, a Botswanan Fashion Designer
Luxury African fashion is at the apex of influence nowadays, post-Black Panther. Clothing sales are up across the board significantly. Around the world, African retailers and new fashion brands are getting a second look from consumers.
Enter: Koki Kamala.
Koki Chiepe, creator of Koki Kamala, has already taken Arise Fashion Week in Lagos by storm. Next up: the rest of the continent and the world (not necessarily in that order). Koki lives in India, was born in Botswana, and is an African-influenced designer, a true globalist in outlook and esthetic.
OPENLETR: Though the brand has a strong social media presence, we asked how important is social media to the brand’s strategy?
Koki: Social media is really Important. I am launching an e-commerce store soon and will focus on engaging Instagram (even) more ... people need that visual stimulant and there is more engagement and reach than Facebook, which also has its positives. So the focus now is to create fun captive content and grow more followers.
OPENLETR: Koki Chiepe of Koki Kamala has long been associated online with the rise of Botswanan fashion. What exactly is the connection between the brand and the country?
Koki: Although I am from there, I have never really lived there, but have been involved in trying to develop the industry with fashion week. And my view is that it's still a very young industry and trying to find itself. The market is VERY small. Most designers just do your made-to-order clothes. There's a lot of talent that needs nurturing and an understanding of the fashion business market.
This is another component of the stories of African luxury fashion brands; at their best, they are more than just regional—they are global. They have a central defining philosophy.
Koki: (Koki Kamala) is a ready to wear contemporary brand with an independent fun spirit. When we started, it was just about creating inspired collections, putting a fun twist on basics to create pieces that people would covet.
OPENLETR: But how would Koki describe herself, the creator of this innovative brand?
Koki: It's so hard to describe oneself, but I am an enthusiastic and free-spirited individual driven by the things I love: my African heritage, art, travel, music and architecture.”
Koki concludes: “and I love living in India!”