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October 7, 2022
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BLACK CREATORS

Hanifa

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Hanifa was inspired by a woman’s quest for a life without boundaries. Our feminine designs highlight natural contours with intriguing motifs, vibrant hues, and distinctive textures. Women’s Ready-To-Wear collections in sizes 0 to 20. We are committed to creating luxury items for all women, at all stages of their lives.

The womenswear brand Hanifa delivered a revolutionary digital fashion show via Instagram Live on May 22, in the midst of a pandemic that had already began hurting (to put it mildly) much of the fashion business. Designer Anifa Mvuemba employed 3-D animation to make it appear as if there were ghosts storming down the runway in her exquisite, figure-hugging creations, rather than just photographing a model wearing each look. Not just any ghosts, either. These ghosts walked with curves and a certain attitude that felt real and familiar, without drawing attention away from the garments.

Despite the inherent difficulties of running a fashion brand during a pandemic, Hanifa’s momentum from that virtual exhibition hasn’t slowed in the months since. Among the amazing moments that have followed are a mention on Beyoncé’s directory of Black-owned products, a September InStyle subscriber cover featuring Zendaya, and a placement on Tracee Ellis Ross in Elle’s The State of Black Beauty package. Shortly after the program, The Hinton Group (helmed by inaugural Fashionista Five topic Nate Hinton) signed on to represent the brand.

Mvuemba has created a reputation for herself as the founder of an independent Black business that focuses on predominantly Black and Brown models and offers sizes ranging from 0 to 20. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Issa Rae have worn Hanifa, which is mostly centered on e-commerce.
On November 16, the brand presented its first in-person exhibition in the glass-ceilinged Kogod Courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The “Hanifa Dream” presentation for Fall/Winter 2021 commemorated the brand’s tenth anniversary and featured a variety of new designs alongside old Hanifa footwear.

Mvuemba’s social media reach grew to over 365,000 Instagram followers, including celebrities like as Naomi Campbell and Gabrielle Union, thanks to the creative presentation. When you consider that Mvuemba has always viewed herself as an outsider in the profession, her climb to stardom is even more astounding. She started Hanifa in 2012 after dropping out of a fashion merchandising school at Morgan State University in Maryland, but due to a heavy workload, she shut it down three years later and went back to working in retail.

Mvuemba is grateful for her own opportunities and is now giving back. She’s a member of the Black in Fashion Council and has launched Concepts by Anifa Mvuemba, a mentoring program for other budding designers, to help push the industry toward diversity. Despite having a full plate, lifting as she climbs hasn’t stopped her from achieving new heights: Mvuemba will debut a new collection later this fall, and she also hopes to expand on her tech-fashion fusion projects. “I’ve always been a bit of a techie. It’s incredible that I can do both tech and fashion “she explains. “I wear a lot of hats and get everything done every day.”

The lack of certain American luxury companies does not necessarily imply that they will go out of business anytime soon; they continue to produce beautiful clothing. They’re just discovering that showing isn’t always essential, especially in the event of a global pandemic. The change could be the shock that NYFW needed for fashion enthusiasts, models, and up-and-coming designers. We can now witness a greater range of brands with unique perspectives in their designs and a focus on sustainability and diversity. The performance aspect is still important, and the fact that it changes all the time simply indicates that it will remain so. When asked what remained significant about New York Fashion Week, Quinlivan may have said it best.

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