Ever notice how most African design wear looks almost the same sometimes? That's because designers typically use patterns from North Africa, taken from the traditional wear of the likes of Dashiki and Ankara. But guess what? There is a whole Southern African region also full of culture, colour and an exotic spirit of Africa that is a little less known around the world. So we thought, what better way to put all this awesomeness on the map than to put it on a bikini? Right? But wait, wait a second.... even better, we'll call ours AFROKINI!
And there it was, the beginning of our dream. Did somebody say “bringing sexy back”? Boom!
Okay, before we get ahead of ourselves... who are we? Well, not your typical bikini designers that's for sure. We are Gugu Makore and Thabo Nhlangano, a young couple both born in Zimbabwe (a landlocked country) and we have backgrounds in Finance Analytics and Aeroscope Engineering respectively. We have lived in Birmingham UK for over 10 years now and we had zero clothing design experience prior to creating the brand Afrokini. So where does all this sexy come from, you may wonder? Ever heard the expression, once you go African you never come back? Well we are proud Africans and our love for our cultures will never die. Mixing that with our mutual love for fashion and travel, we have drawn from different inspirations to present a trendy and modern African product that is true to we are and reflects our take on young African fashion.
Our very first collection is inspired by the Ndebele patterns of Southern Africa; notably the internationally acclaimed designs of South African Gogo (GranMa) Esther Mahlangu. Gogo Mahlangu employs a traditional technique that includes bright colours, geometric shapes and thick black outlines which she draws from memory, with no instruments to scale or measure. She has been commissioned by Belvedere Vodka before to create a classic Ndebele design for a special-edition bottle of Belvedere Vodka (Red) in a campaign against HIV/Aids, along with international music star John Legend. She was also the first non-Western person and female to design one of BMW’s art cars, the BMW 525i “African Art Car”. Big shoes to fill hey? We couldn't be more excited.
Afrokini is a luxury handmade swimsuit for everybody, in every body. We want to influence the new and modern African story with fashion and art. Afrokini is diverse, it has no race, no ethnicity, no disability and no prejudice. It is simply raw culture, bright colour and rhythmic attitude that will make every woman look in the mirror and say “hayi suka mhan!” (Get-outta-town!).
All this, and more to come, is made from us to you with love!
Gugu & Thabo