APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
CJAJ09: We started in 2009 and when it became quiet clear that despite an abundance of designers who use African print fabrics, there weren’t many actual stores that sold these clothes and that access to African print clothing was quiet hard. CJAJ09 was then started as a high street brand to bridge the gap between the high end African print market and the people who wanted it fast and inexpensive. It was based online to make it possible for everyone, everywhere to get to it.
APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
CJAJ09: I think its fantastic that African prints are finally moving beyond just something that the older generation wears and finally getting more mainstream recognition. For some of us, its never really been a trend, just what we know and love. Hopefully, it continues to grow and have a much bigger place in the mainstream fashion market, especially outside of Africa.
APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
CJAJ09: I strongly believe so. For some people, African prints are just a trend, but there are people who are devoted to and love it, and who will continue wearing and using prints even when it stops being trendy. Hopefully, as more people discover it, they will also fall in love and want to wear it whether its trendy or not.
APiF: What inspires u?
CJAJ09: I design for the sophisticated hardworking and sassy woman with a love of Africa, she is my inspiration.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
CJAJ09: My favorite changes from time to time. At the moment, I am loving two pieces from the shop, the first one is a gorgeous dip front straight dress that is sexy and simple and the second is a mixed print full skirt, which I’m loving not just for the fusion of prints and colors but also because its very old school.
APiF: How do you market your designs and make them accessible to a global audience?
CJAJ09: First of all, we have the website, www.cjaj09.com which is constantly being updated with new clothes, jewelry and accessories. We are also on facebook and twitter@myafricancloset. We also do shows and appearances as much as we can. And then there’s the blog, www.myafricancloset.wordpress.com.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
CJAJ09: Know your product and have a vision for your label/brand.