Libaya is a Ghana-based clothing line run by a young woman named Nsimba Valene, who believes that fashion and style should be used as a tool to connect with fellow trailblazing Africans while communicating authentic African ideas to a global audience. The brand, which translates to mean “a tailored women’s top made in Africa,” is set to launch officially in June this year and will start off by selling its products online while partnering with retail shops within the continent and beyond.
“Our goal is to be available worldwide, but we need to start small,” shared Nsimba via WhatsApp.
“We will have to select where we stock and see what is possible for now. I receive requests from stores everywhere, but since we produce in Ghana, the link with retailers there automatically is stronger.”
Nsimba’s strong disposition for style and African fashion can be traced back to her roots in Congo as well as the trajectory of her career in the fashion industry. Nsimba started off at Vlisco in Netherlands, where she worked as a trend researcher and concept developer, researching the consumer markets, to generate insights that could help the brand create concepts to enhance the quality of life for African fashion consumers.
Vlisco broadened my mindset. I realized that it was time for us – Africans – to tell our own stories. The other thing that influenced my evolution was really my personal growth, becoming the African / Congolese woman I always wanted to be and embracing everything that I am.
According to her, business and social impact can no longer be separated, because we are living in an age where there is a need to look at brands as ecosystems. With this in mind, Libaya is focused on bringing together a like-minded group of women by producing a variety of high-quality blouses with a signature aesthetic, that will ease daily style decisions while also telling an African story. Part of Libaya’s objective is to also contribute to fashion development in West and Central Africa and create an ecosystem by not only working with tailors but also collaborating with industry creatives such as models, photographers, and stylists on the continent.