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Meet the Designer Whose Virtual Runway Show is Taking the Fashion World by Storm
By Jill Rocco
June 4, 2020
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Hanifa Virtual Runway featured on WOMANBOSS
This designer’s virtual runway show is speaking truth.

Yesterday, social media went black in respect of the Black Lives Matter movement. Brands and users alike stayed silent to make way for other voices to be heard.  Just a little more than a week ago, the internet happened to belong to Anifa Mvuemba.  Anifa is the founder and designer of Hanifa, a fashion label from Congo.  Anifa just released her collection, and the way she did so caught the eye of even the most coveted fashion editors. 

Anifa Mvuemba Founder of Hanifa featured on WOMANBOSS
Photo of Anifa Mvuemba, Founder of Hanifa

Due to COVID-19, many fashion designers had painful debates about whether or not they would be cancelling their previously scheduled fashion shows. Large and small brands have been planning these shows for months, but the risk of COVID-19 was too great. Anifa Mvuemba thought of a creative way to hold her fashion show, and released her new clothing line.  

The idea to have a virtual fashion show began 5 years ago, but back then, Anifa figured it was too far off and ambitious. Little did she know she would have to pivot her whole strategy because of COVID-19 and there is now every reason to actualize her earlier ideaAnifa took to Google to learn about 3D modeling and rendering to execute her own virtual fashion show. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Anifa explains “there’s so much information out there. I Google everything. I learned how to sew from Google. I’m just the type of person that when I want to learn how to do something, I’m going to learn it even if that means I have to be up 24 hours for a week straight.” 

Anifa’s fashion show kicked off with a mini documentary on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and some of the major issues like the cobalt exchange.  Cobalt is a chemical element essential to making rechargeable batteries, which are present in all of our everyday lives – cell phones, electric cars etc..  With or without knowing, we are all consumers of cobalt, the supply chain of which is so exploitative that it is causing a humanitarian crisis in that region. (If you are interested in reading more about it, go to this page on Amnesty International). Anifa explains to Elle, “I wanted people to feel what people from Congo have been feeling for years: oppressed.” Anifa, like so many passionate entrepreneurs, used her platform to raise awareness about a fight close to her heart. This ideal can be adapted by all now so more than ever.  

Next, the Pink Label Congo collection flowed effortlessly down the runway, with the outfits draped around full-figured renderings of models. The colors told the story of Congo, while music played in the background to set the tone of the virtual show. Her very last dress was a tribute to the Congo River, and quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.  

Hanifa Runway Tweet featured on WOMANBOSS
Tweet by @findingmalo

Anifa Mvuemba put in countless hours to pull off her virtual show, and nothing was going to get in her way. Despite a few hiccups early on in the show, she was able to quickly adapt and handled everything that was thrown her way.   

Check out the Hanifa website to learn more and click here for the Pink Label Congo Collection. 

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