How A Designer Who Disrupted The Fashion World Thanks To A Virtual 3D Show Secured A Partnership With A Premium Bourbon Brand

You can’t place Anifa Mvuemba’s creativity in a box.

Back in 2020, the Hanifa founder and fashion designer shook up the fashion world with a virtual 3D show on Instagram for her collection, Pink Label Congo, inspired by her home country of the Congo. From then on, Mvuemba continued to implement her self-taught tech skills into her work, as previously reported by AFROTECH™.

Now, Mvuemba has taken her fashion expertise into new territory — the spirits industry. In February 2024, it was announced that she and fellow Hanifa fashion designer Sergio Hudson are partnering with premium bourbon brand Woodford Reserve.

During a New York Fashion Week (NYFW) dinner, Mvuemba spoke about previously feeling like she was approached by brands for their own gain and image, per WWD.

In an email interview with AFROTECH™, Mvuemba shared, “As a Black designer, navigating the barriers that come with being shortlisted for collaborations merely to fulfill a diversity checkbox has been a reality I’ve faced throughout my career. The discussion that arose during Woodford Reserve’s NYFW dinner shed light on the prevalent issue and how Black designers, including myself, are sometimes perceived as a checkbox rather than valued for our talents, creativity, and unique perspectives.”

She continued, “However, despite these challenges, I have chosen to approach each collaboration and partnership with resilience, determination, and a commitment to showcasing the excellence and innovation that Black designers bring to the table.”

And Mvuemba is doing just that under her long-term partnership with Woodford Reserve. According to information shared with AFROTECH™, she and Hudson are behind the Woodford Reserve Flavor Note Collection, which is inspired by the brand’s over 200 flavor notes. The collaborative collection is set to debut at the 150th Kentucky Derby in May 2024.

“As a brand, it is an immense honor for us to debut our designs at such a historic event of this scale,” Mvuemba told AFROTECH™. “The Kentucky Derby represents tradition, elegance, and unmatched sophistication, and we are thrilled to be part of this moment. It is a testament to our commitment to delivering high-quality, luxurious fashion to our valued customers.”

As for Hanifa, Mvuemba says she plans to continue leveraging technology in her company to further expand on its storytelling. Following the release of Hanifa at Home in March 2024, she shared that there are more “very exciting projects” underway.

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