The web is likely to be designer Anifa Mvuemba‘s best asset. In 2020, her Pink Congo Instagram Dwell runway present despatched 3D fashions, mimicking femme bodies, down the runway carrying her curve-friendly silhouettes. The present went viral, turning the style trade on its head. Not solely did it create better pleasure round her Hanifa model, nevertheless it additionally inspired the trade to rethink digital displays of vogue collections. A 12 months later, as soon as the ban on in-person occasions was lifted, she did it once more by remodeling the Nationwide Portrait Gallery right into a whimsical actuality for her first ever in-person present. The present, titled Goals, provided a meditation on her profession journey since launching Hanifa in 2011 and showcased her dedication to the D.C. space.
All the time forward of the curve, Mvuemba was exploring the digital world of vogue previous to the pandemic and was in search of out the best scenario to mix her love of graphic design with know-how. The 30-year-old all the time loved exploring the various aspects of design, and digital actuality, she notes, was naturally the subsequent realm to beat. And conquer she did. Following her 2020 Instagram present, Hanifa noticed will increase in gross sales and an expanded viewers base.
Though New York is taken into account America’s vogue capital, Hanifa is headquartered in Baltimore. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Mvuemba migrated to the nation’s capital along with her household in 1993. Whereas attending Gaithersburg Excessive Faculty, the place she took half in a vogue program, Mvuemba started to develop her vogue perspective. In the present day she credit her highschool program director for uplifting her profession within the vogue trade. However her examine of vogue really took flight in Baltimore, the place she enrolled in vogue programs at Morgan State College and realized to stitch.
Shortly earlier than her birthday in 2011, Mvuemba tells Metropolis Paper she was unable to afford a brand new gown. As an alternative of carrying a recycled outfit for her get together, she made a chartreuse tube gown. She shared—and modeled—her work on Instagram, and instantly requests began flooding in. Her pals needed Mvuemba clothes and Hanifa was born.
A decade later and the model is shaping the trade, from how collections are showcased to who wears Mvuemba’s designs. In the present day, Hanifa is worn by A-list celebrities like Beyoncé, Gabrielle Union, Ashley Graham, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Nevertheless, girls of all physique varieties and financial lessons are carrying her designs, because of its inclusive sizing and accessible worth factors. The costs of her newest assortment vary from $179 to $2,400. “We take into account the match and life-style of on a regular basis girls for every of our collections. Now we have extra in frequent with one another than social media might painting,” she says.
Concerning Hanifa’s 28-piece summer season 2022 assortment, Dwell Out Loud, Mvuemba says, “I strongly imagine that vogue shouldn’t be restricted.” Like nearly all of her items, that are recognized for being ultra-feminine, daring in coloration, but approachable in design, Dwell Out Loud options ruffled and feathered clothes, dishevelled cargo pants, and attractive cutouts.
In June, Dwell Out Loud was offered by way of Hanifa’s YouTube channel, marking one other first for the designer. Whereas the gathering took months to supply, the digital present, full with a inexperienced display screen catwalk, was forged and filmed over per week in a Brooklyn studio.
“We prefer to have choices and flexibility. Whether or not in 3D or in actual life, we choose whichever platform will inform the story of our assortment at the moment, whereas expressing the ladies behind the garments,” she says.
In Mvuemba’s eyes, the individuals who put on her garments are multifaceted and extremely enthusiastic about life, a that means that transcends movie star standing. “She’s unstoppable in any capability or area of curiosity. Most significantly, she’s a woman’s lady who likes to see girls win,” Mvuemba says.
Her spring/summer season 2022 assortment continues to discover themes of girls’s empowerment. “Residing out loud means to stay freely, authentically, and confidently,” she says. “Our model ethos is a definite call-out to girls who’re limitless, and daring in each facet of their lives, not simply their vogue decisions.”
The gathering is an “explosion of coloration” that embraces texture, and motion. The designer notes that the hotter months symbolize progress and blossoming, akin to Hanifa’s greater than 10 years of affect on millennial girls who’re evolving of their lives and their careers. “We encourage one another to pursue extra,” she says.
And like the ladies who put on it, Hanifa continues to evolve. Below the model, Mvuemba plans to proceed cultivating her mentorship program, which she began in 2020. Ideas by Anifa M. goals to equip rising designers in each capability with the instruments they should launch and construct a profitable model. This system launched with an keen class of 15 younger designers able to study. “We’re at present engaged on refining this system to information rising expertise on what they should launch and/or scale their design enterprise, vogue or in any other case,” Mvuemba says. As she continues to broaden her vogue dynasty with Hanifa, Mvuemba can be seeking to debut collections in each bridal put on and sweetness.
Rising up within the D.C. area and making her residence base in Baltimore stays a part of what makes Mvuemba and her model distinctive. She needs to point out designers and vogue lovers alike what’s attainable to construct in your individual yard if you’re devoted to placing within the work. “I need rising designers to know that they’ll launch and scale their enterprise from the place that grounds them,” says Mvuemba.