APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Chantal Ali-Keke Roland Valmy: Tcharakoura is a line of bags that was created at the beginning for myself and a couple of friends. After the massive positive response, I launched the line and developed the signature trend of my bags – novelty bags in limited edition. From there it took off and I am now doing clothes as well with the same concept.
APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Chantal: Tcharakoura is not only inspired by my heritage or culture but by my life and my travels. It goes beyond the design or the use of African printed material. The line adapts itself to your envy and personal world.
APiF: How do u feel about the current trend regarding all things “African”?
Chantal: I think that the African fashion trend is opening more and more globally. The days of the pagne or boubou are over. Now the African printed material is used differently. You see a lot of pencil skirts, day dresses etc. The designs have become more modern.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Chantal: My favorite piece in my closet and collection is the reversible jacket. I love the pattern and the inside material. You can wear it in two ways, so it blends easily with your outfit. It is something that can cross-over seasons, as you can wear it during autumn and winter and it looks very feminine.
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Chantal: At the moment the line is accessible in Paris, France, and from end of January on in London, UK, at www.didouboutique.com
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Chantal: Never get discouraged, always persevere and the most important is to have faith in yourself and your designs.
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