She debuted the latest collection for her contemporary brand Hanifa on Instagram Live featuring virtual models sashaying down the runway.
Anifa Mvuemba, a young Congolese designer, is leading the fashion industry into a post-pandemic world by revolutionizing the catwalk. On Friday, May 22, Mvuemba debuted the latest collection for her contemporary brand Hanifa on Instagram Live featuring virtual models sashaying down the runway. The headless, three-dimensional digital models showed off the designer's Pink Label Congo collection in all its vibrant glory and left fans and fashion critics equally stunned. The innovation behind Mvuemba's latest fashion show is telling of the strange times we now find ourselves in and paves the way for other brands to adapt to this new world.
Mvuemba, a Teen Vogue Generation Next alum, told the magazine that she began planning the digital show long before countries began issuing stay-at-home in light of the coronavirus outbreak. "The news came out about how serious things were and I started to feel a bit anxious about everything going on. I started feeling like maybe it would be insensitive to create and share a new collection online while people were facing very difficult realities," she revealed. Mvuemba explained that she has been using 3D mockups for a while to communicate ideas to her team during sample-making.
However, the designer says "designing content using 3D models and now an entire collection has been a complete game-changer for me. It actually requires an even greater amount of attention-to-detail for the clothes to fit and look just right." Mvuemba decided to follow her purpose and go along with the show after consulting with her team. "My decision to keep going could impact our customers for the better in ways I never imagined. That’s when I knew it was time," she said. According to CNN, Mvuemba—whose previous designs have been worn by celebrities of the likes of Cardi B—said during the launch that each of the outfits represents Congo.
One of the outfits in the collection is a backless mini dress in red, blue, and yellow, which represents the flag of the central African country. Another is a maxi dress in blue and green, a homage to the point where the Congo river meets land. Through her collection, Mvuemba aimed to shed light on the issues facing her home country. The show began with a short documentary showcasing the inhumane conditions of cobalt mining sites and the plight of women and children who suffer due to it. Congo is one of the world's leading producers of cobalt and accounts for over 60 percent of the world's production.
"I am so intentional about everything I do with this collection. If you're African then you know about African seamstresses and how detail is so important and the color is so important and prints are so important. I really just wanted to use that in this collection, just to give tribute to African seamstresses," she said during the launch on her Instagram page on Friday. "I want these pieces to tell a story of meaning. I want them to remind us to be intentional about what we create. Not for clout or for Instagram likes, but for the sake of meaning what we say by storytelling through our designs," the designer added.
Anifa Mvuemba, Pink Label Congo Collection. (An African woman, a black woman, setting new fashion industry standards) pic.twitter.com/CPpSx3ZoC5— Nkiruka (@nkirurka) May 23, 2020
Mvuemba revealed she selected Instagram as her platform to give everyone a front-row seat to the detail and delicacy of her creations. "We know that some people may never experience a fashion week or Hanifa showcase, so we wanted to show up for our audience where they show up for us on a daily basis. That’s when Instagram became the obvious choice," she said. Speaking of her use of 3D models, the designer said: "With a digital model you’re determining the measurements and what would cause the model to look most realistic. Without real women to draw inspiration from there could be no 3D models to emulate our beautiful skin tones, curves, and walking patterns. For me the biggest challenge is making sure that the beauty we display in real life is well represented on the screen."