US retailer Anthropologie, a brand under the Urban Inc. retail umbrella, launched the stylish new Legend and Song Collection to celebrate the craft and artisans of East Africa. This online collection offers beautiful apparel, jewellery, and accessories to the US market that were fully designed and manufactured in East Africa.
The Trade Hub met with key decision makers at Anthropologie about sourcing options in East Africa in early 2013. With Anthropologie’s collection in mind, the Trade Hub worked hard to find the right conditions and designers. Customized, exploratory visits were set up to match Anthropologie’s design aesthetic and specifications with the styles and capacity of East African companies.
The Trade Hub team introduced Anthropologie executives to several artisans before they chose Sammy Handmade of Ethiopia; Mille Collines, Gahaya Links and Indego Africa of Rwanda; and Doreen Mashika Zanzibar and URU Diamonds of Tanzania.
“With the Trade Hub’s guidance we were able to seamlessly access the market in this region. It is exciting for us as a company and we look forward to the future possibilities,” said Karen Wilkins, Urban Inc. Director of Technical Design. Karen and her team of design specialists worked closely with the companies to make sure the specifications and designs were technically accurate.
Over the past four years through our Origin Africa campaign, the Trade Hub has provided technical support and guidance to the many small designers and manufacturers in the region. The campaign helps change perceptions about Africa by demonstrating to international buyers just how integral design and creativity are to Africa’s future.
Through the work of producers, designers, small businesses, exporters, buyers and retailers, Origin Africa supports African trade in textiles/apparel, cut flowers, footwear, specialty foods, home décor, and fashion accessories. Since 2009, the Trade Hub has directly facilitated over $160 million in exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).