Tuesday, September 12, 2017

GREAT EAST AFRICAN DESIGN TALENTS EMERGE AS HEINEKEN® CONCLUDES MAIDEN AFRICA INSPIRED FASHION CHALLENGE

 Tanzanian fashion designer,stylist and fashion editor Rio Paul (centre) sharing a light moment with Njeri Mburu, Heineken’s Brand Manager – Kenya, Tanzania &Uganda.

Lulu MUTULI & Azra WALJI impressed judges and earned a ticket to Africa’s largest fashion and design festival in Lagos

Lulu MUTULI and AZRA WALJI have reason to smile as they emerged tops at the maiden Heineken® Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge, a three day event built around creativity and innovation of East Africa’s finest fashion design talents.

Speaking as he announced the winners, HEINEKEN East Africa General Manager Uche UNIGWE termed the three day design challenge as an amazing experience for the brand, designers and the regional fashion industry at large.

Through our “open your world” Heineken® tagline noted Uche, we sought a co-creation opportunity for the regional fashion scene through an open-design challenge that saw over 100 portfolio reviews that were narrowed down to 10 participants from which the winners have emerged.

According to Uche, this experience has been an eye opener for HEINEKEN allowing us to share our expertise with the participants polishing their business and design skills and imparting the Heineken® way.

More importantly the 3 days’ session has allowed the participants develop critical networks and contacts to help them break their proverbial glass ceiling and elevate them to a world of endless possibilities.

“Identifying and empowering talents remains a critical part of our global agenda and it is our hope that this exercise will help in developing and building capacity in the regional fashion and design space as we seek to create an African capsule collection to be incorporated into the global Heineken® apparel line” said Uche.

Diana OPOTI, key fashion influencer, which has been instrumental in gathering the fashion community around this challenge, confirmed ‘’it’s vital that where we can we create an environment to identify and nurture young creative talent.
Sights of colors,fashion and patterns from the Africa Inspired Fashion Design Cocktail in Nairobi,Kenya where the winners were announced.

This project is especially important in the way it’s been designed; for connecting designers to real work experience with the link to the Heineken® design team as well opening them up to the opportunity to showcase in the career defining, Lagos Fashion and Design Week in Nigeria.’’

Speaking at the event, Lagos Fashion and Design Week founder and judge at the event Omoyemi AKERELE, lauded the raw talent and creativity. “Indeed my expectations were exceeded especially given the young age of the designers that not only showed creativity and interest in learning but also possessed amazing business acumen that is needed to jumpstart the East African fashion scene”.

She added “I could see a lot of younger me in these designers and I am glad that through Heineken® I could become the mentor that I never had”. She added that through this 3 days’ immersive co-creating exercise, the journeys of all these young designers to limitless potential was set in motion.

The above sentiments were echoed by Global Director Heineken® Design Mark VAN ITERSON who on officiating the launch of the challenge noted the area of design and innovation creates the future and that creativity has the power to imagine and develop better solutions for a better world.”

“As a designer I'm optimistic that blending different creative disciplines and people from different backgrounds, gives amazing inspiration; opening up to fresh ideas, opens up endless new opportunities” said Mark.
General Manager Heineken East Africa Mr Uche Unigwe with the Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge 2017 Winners, Lulu Muturi and Azra Walji.

He added “At HEINEKEN we've always embraced this vision, and were eager to see how African fashion would inspire us, and vice versa, how we can add value to the creative scene in Africa. “ An elated Lulu MUTULI thanked the challenge organizers for the platform to learn and share their creativity and talent terming it as an amazing and priceless opportunity.

“For us that speak through our creativity, being able to represent Africa’s voice for a global brand is a great honor in what we the participants hope will be the first of many honors and accolades that will emerge from this challenge.” The winners will depart in two weeks for Amsterdam to actualize their patterns and line with Heineken® design team and Amsterdam based design house LEW.

The journey will culminate with a chance to showcase their collection at Africa’s largest fashion event- the Lagos Fashion and Design Week in end of October where their unique creation will be revealed and show-cased.

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