The trend studio you launched last year, Stories of Near, is centered particularly on creating new fashion narratives. Will you say that Libaya seeks to plug into that vision? And did you notice some missing elements in the industry that fueled the drive to start up the brand?
Yeah. Even though my co-founder and I are finding a new structure for this initiative, I do think Libaya definitely aligns with the vision I have for Stories of Near.
For me fashion has always been more than just making beautiful clothes, it’s about telling stories and at least trying to change people’s lives.
When I was setting up Libaya, my first question was “How can I use fashion as a tool to make a social impact?” and that’s actually the same question I asked myself when I started Stories of Near.
To answer your second question, I didn’t really think about filling a gap in the industry. I just wanted to do more and when I connected the dots, this idea got realized. But looking at it now I do see that we are actually at the front of online brands from Africa, which I do think is a world that Africans and people outside Africa are discovering more and more now.
Why the focus on making just tops?
That’s a very personal thing. First of all my mom always makes tops, so when I think about style, I think about my mom’s amazing tops. And then second it’s just really something I struggle with daily: finding that staple item that goes with everything anytime without looking boring.
Style shouldn’t be a complicated thing. I want a women to wake up and feel like wearing a simple pair of jeans but the moment she adds a ‘Libaya’, it becomes that extra touch she needs to feel fabulous while doing her daily activities. It works for me these days, haha
We read that you intend to share local style stories of insightful women through their personal journeys and achievements, what/who should we be expecting from that?
Our brand itself is already a local style story. The name holds so much meaning and is so connected to a lot of style stories specifically in Congo. So my next focus will be, besides that, inviting other women to become part of this style story. So that’s what you can definitely expect! More women stories.
If you had to describe Libaya in one sentence, what would you say?
We want to celebrate women and we want to celebrate Africa.
So if I had to choose one sentence which excited me the most, I would say: “The future is female and African!”