By The Charleston Chronicle
Michelle Obama is well known for discovering and supporting up-and-coming designers from a variety of backgrounds and cultural influences and bringing them to prominence. From Taiwanese-Canadian Jason Wu to Finnish Teija Eilola to Nigerian Maki Oh, the former First Lady has placed a number of designers on the world stage and catapulted their careers forward.
Now Marketplace Africa offers fashion-forward style setters everywhere the same opportunity to discover emerging designers from Africa and showcase what may be the next “it” designer.
Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, fueling a $31 billion fashion industry and its own Africa Fashion Week. This economic success has given birth to some of the hottest new fashion designers that are little known outside of Africa and waiting to be discovered by American style-setters. Nigerian designer Maki Oh has been worn by celebrities from Rihanna to Beyoncé to Michelle Obama. But many other designers are waiting to be discovered outside of their native countries and now Marketplace Africa makes it easy.
Marketplace Africa, a joint venture between global shipping leader DHL and Africa’s e-commerce leader, Mall for Africa, features more than 80 designers and a full range of accessories, as well as men’s fashion and gifts. The partnership takes the complexity and uncertainty out of global online shopping. DHL handles all logistics services for the marketplace, including an exclusive product-verification process prior to shipping, while Mall for Africa’s award-winning, patented e-commerce platform manages Marketplace Africa’s proprietary platform and payment system.
So American shoppers have access to the innovative designers and craftspeople across Africa creating stunning, world-class products using both traditional and cutting-edge techniques, while African businesses are able to connect to new markets and new customers.
This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle.