African Fashion Goes Global

Original African design at the click of a mouse

The new African aesthetic is here, led by KISUA. Launching in October 2013 it is set to become the go-to commercial platform for African fashion talent. Its aim, as the first African e-commerce site of its kind, is to showcase both established and emerging designers from across the African continent.

And it does so with a striking coherence to the concept. As Creative Director Danica Lepen emphasizes, “we’ve stayed true to the designers’ aesthetics and integrity, but at the same time we have a consistent KISUA signature threaded through all the collections, which is about keeping the clothes modern, wearable and to a high quality standard”. ELLE certainly agrees. The clothes showcase a wide range of styles – from eye-catching, beautiful prints to more minimally elegant, understated designs. As well as an easy-to-use transactional website, products will be shipped from a central warehouse in South Africa, meaning you won’t have to wait long for your order to arrive either.


Yet KISUA is much more than just an e-commerce site. Proudly African, it totes the cause of the continent, providing the engine for commercial growth by supporting designers via the KISUA African Designer Fund. All the designer collaborations are funded so that the designers themselves take no financial risks. As Mensah makes clear, “we provide a commercial platform that helps them grow, and open doors for them that may otherwise remain closed.” KISUA will also launch access to Africa’s creative community via content on the site’s editorial pages.


African pride is reflected in every aspect of KISUA, from its mission to its brand, taking its name from the Swahili word for ‘garment’, ‘suit’ or ‘well dressed person’. Now this Swahili-articulated elegance is available globally. As Lepen explains, “What we’re doing is showing people that African fashion is wearable and globally relevant. We want to break the mould – African design is not just wax patterns and beading.”

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