Why is Afrieks production based in Rwanda?
While Sivan was doing here Masters in Conflict Studies, her biggest take-out was: war begins when people see “the other” as less human. She wrote her thesis in International Political History on the Western approach to Africa and how it never really changed over the past 100 years. For her research, she went to Rwanda to dive deeper in the subject. This is where she met Kars, and with their shared vision about the need to change the Western perspective on Africa and their love for fashion, they started Afriek.
Why is the brand, founded by white people from Europe, selling African printed clothes?
It seemed a good idea at the time: Sivan liked fashion and wanted to combine African print with high quality craftsmanship to make a statement. This would positively influence the image of Africa back home and we would collaborate in a way that is new for the international relations so far (and for the fashion industry as well as we found out later). It was a simple approach to a huge problem, but this is how it actually works:
We collaborate as equals with our partners in Rwanda and other African countries. Same as how we would work with for example German partners. You listen to each other, you learn from each other, you negotiate, you keep promises, you pay a reasonable price and you expect good work. Makes sense right?
High quality, high price. We want people to buy consciously because they love the item, not out of pity. Our brand is for-profit, because that’s sustainable in the long run. We show the world that this works, we learn from our mistakes through experience and inspire other companies to work in the same way.
We open people’s perception of Rwanda and of Africa through our branding, communication, challenge biased ideas, provoke conversations.
Why does Afriek work with pre orders?
Pre ordering at Afriek means that the garments will have an owner before they are being made. To have no big stock left unsold at the end of the collection, it is most sustainable to know what piece someone would like and make it after ordering. In this way, we stimulate slow fashion.
Why does it take three weeks to deliver?
A pre order is the first step in the production process. Afriek’s sustainable way of producing asks for a bit of patience, as we have to send the orders to Rwanda, where it will be produced in the atelier in Kigali, and has to be flown to The Netherlands.
Will the items that are out of stock come back in stock?
No. But, with a little bit of luck, we may find some sold out prints on the Kampala market again. In that case, we will put them back available on the website. Are the products in stores the same as the online pieces? Not all of them. There are pieces in stores from older collections for sale with a discount.
Does Afriek use the fabrics from Vlisco?
How environment friendly is the brand?
Our production is small, so we waist no fabric. From left overs we make smaller products, like the bowties and head scarfs. The downside from this small production is, though, that we do not have enough orders to ship. The garments from Rwanda to The Netherlands travel by plane.
Do you sell clothing for kids?
Where do the fabrics come from and what do the prints mean?
We select our prints at the Kampala market in Uganda. This is where the kitenge fabric is for sale. Kitenge is an East African, West African and Central African fabric, often worn by women and wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling. We work with African print because it directly shows you the origin of the product. The recognizability of the fabric instantly provokes conversation. And, obviously, it is beautiful in it is depth and richness of the design.
Can I order something custom made?
Yes, feel free to send an email with what you might like and we can discuss the options.
Why are the designers Dutch (and not Rwandese)?
When we started, we made products for the Dutch market, so used Dutch designers we have in our network to design a collection that suits the European market. Now, slowly growing our network as we go, we work with photographers, brand ambassadors, artists and models from different countries in Africa. We hope we can add Rwandese designers to that collaboration in the near future too.
Do you sell the brand in Rwanda?
Yes, customers in Rwanda get a 50% discount.