• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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A new place to shop


African print is still the toast of all and sundry as the year winds to a close. Most Christmas collections have African theme. Fashion designers have taken African print, especially the Ankara fabric, to another level. Their renewed interest in taking Ankara fabric to a new level on the continent and outside is very visible on both local and international runways since the beginning of 2013. This year also, boardrooms joined the train as the traditional black, navy blue, grey-coloured suits for females are shown the way out.

Female executives are now donning dresses made of Ankara fabrics embellished with precious stones or sequins, or animal prints used for collars on bespoke suits. Simply put, traditional African prints are moving with the times.

African designers are fast re-defining styles emerging from the continent as they defy stereotypes and they are encouraging female executives to wear handmade Ankara jackets to the office on Fridays and at times mid-week. Cute dresses made of African print are also in as female executives now combine armless short dresses with black of navy blue jackets. Female executives seem to now understand the importance of promoting their roots even in the workplace. They are embracing a range of new ideas and continue to expand their taste by spreading their styles across different ethnic formal wears.

It is for this reason that Da Viva is expanding its reach in Nigeria with the opening of a new outlet at Apapa Shopping mall. According to Jean Paul Pragout, director Da Viva, says Da Viva has been existing for more than five years. “The Da Viva brand has grown quite remarkably and very quickly,” he says. “It has been very successful for simple reasons. The first reason is it is not something that the market then was offering. It was a totally new and different concept. We have new designs and a new way of distributing. Nigeria has been facing challenges in retail growth at the shopping malls. There was no kind of distribution for the Ankara fabric in shopping malls. Everybody had to go to the market. It was a combination of new designs and the new distribution network.”

In 2013, Da ViVa launched its limited edition designs, mini collections and, of course, more His ‘n’ Hers for Christmas. The company also increased the number of Da ViVa shops and more authorised dealers were appointed, providing Nigerian consumers with even more places to be sure of buying genuine Da ViVa fabrics.

Carol Arhere, communications manager, Da Viva says new dwsigns are created almost on a weekly basis to combat fakes and also offer new designs to the delight of consumers. “We have three centres for our design creations,” she explains. “We have one in England, one in Ghana and one in Nigeria. Each of the centres has their own signature. They are not just producing for Da Viva they are also produce for all our brands. We realised we have to do something different in terms of style and designs to be competitive in the market and for our brand to stand out; we want it to be designs that can grace runways and be catwalked by models around the world. At the very beginning, it was our studio in the United Kingdom that used to do the design, then Ghana and later Nigeria.”