Hot in Africa
The Fashion E-commerce Site That Celebrates “the beauty and vibrancy of Africa”
The power of the internet to facilitate global commerce and cultural exchange is well-established. But Zuvaa, an online fashion marketplace founded by 27-year-old Nigerian-American Kelechi Anyadiegwu, is doing both at once.
Zuvaa — a play on the word zuva, which means sunshine in Zimbabwe — is a digital platform created by Anyadiegwu in May 2014. The website goes beyond connecting people to stylish African fashion items; it also provides a space for emerging African designers to share their authentic stories and challenge common misconceptions about African fashion.
“It’s about really showcasing the beauty and vibrancy of Africa,” Anyadiegwu said in a phone interview. “Zuvaa literally brings together everything that I love in life, from the African continent, to fashion, to technology, to my community.”
Ignorance and appropriation. Though she was raised in the U.S., Anyadiegwu’s parents made sure to impress upon her the importance of her heritage, from giving her an African name to visiting family back in Nigeria. A self-described “total fashionista” from a young age, Anyadiegwu forged a fashion sense that balanced colorful African prints with staying on top of the latest trends of her peers.
As she got older, Anyadiegwu noticed more people complimenting her and asking about her unique garments and textiles. At the same time, she noticed the fashion industry wrongly labeling and attributing similarly inspired prints as “ethnic” or “tribal.”
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