APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Rosemary Dede: Malaika Designs was founded by myself and Adwoa Ode-
Dombrowe in the spring of 2010. Our aim is to create clothes and accessories that mix the combination of the cultures that affect our lives. All our items are made in Berlin and handcrafted and produced from carefully selected fabrics.
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African prints and fabrics?
Rosemary: The brand was started out of a lack of choice and diversity in the shops and streets. We wanted to wear something that made us feel good about ourselves. We first wanted to fulfill our needs and then we decided to share it with others.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Rosemary: One of my favorite pieces is the Kimono – it is a perfect example of our style. We took something that does not really have a connection to the African or European culture and designed it in such a way, that everybody
“The Kimono – a perfect example of our style” feels comfortable wearing it. Young and old, for the evening or during the day. It is a piece that we are very proud of and that our customers love.
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Rosemary: We market them online, through the media, magazines, fashion shows, sales at special events, etc. We make them available to the public through our online boutique and other boutiques for which we are suppliers.
APiF: Are consumers in Germany receptive to designs in African prints and fabrics?
Rosemary: Actually, they are more receptive than we thought at first. People are not that much afraid of colors as we think. They just need to familiarize with it and feel comfortable wearing it. Designs need to be simple and wearable.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Rosemary: Love what you do first, don’t try to make a collection for people, but first make it for you. If you love it, than it will be easier to share it with others. If it is all about the money, people will notice that and it will stop your creativity.
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