Laetitia Kandolo : UCHAWI A Made In Africa Brand
Who is Laetitia Kandolo?
At the age of 19, Laetitia Kandolo began to chase her dreams of entering the fashion industry. A Congolese stylist who at the age of 26 started working with big names in the industry of music. She was also a designer and artistic director for the brand Uchawi in the Republic of Congo. After receiving her Economic and Social Baccalaureate, she then attended the Fashion School in Paris to train in Fashion Business. Laetitia joined the GHUBAR international webzine team in 2011 as a fashion editor. All of her projects were stepping stones that led to collaborations with people internationally. So far, she has worked with artist like Madonna, Sting, Les Twins, Rihanna, Kanye West and Will.I.Am.
What is UCHAWI?
UCHAWI was founded by Laetitia Kandolo in 2014 in the Congo DRC that holds a multicultural concept. In Swahili, the word “uchawi" means magic. The brand represents the multiple reflections of identities it expresses. From hope, the strength within the youth, and joy that is seen in the culture of Africa. Inspiration comes from architecture, movies, traveling or even music, the outlets for inspiration are everywhere. Even though Laetitia grew up in Paris, her designs are connected to African culture.
What’s next for the UCHAWI collection?
For the next collection, Laetitia plans to depict the “real Africa” using fabrics like silk, jacquard patterns and pink cotton canvas. Working with the Barbados queen Rihanna, Laetitia says “I still have my big customers next door. Currently, it’s Rihanna. There are beautiful things that are getting ready with Fenty Beauty, the brand continues to grow. I work on campaigns with a team that is not on the same continent, it requires a lot of coordination”.
The fashion industry is taking a turn towards quality, uniqueness, rich colors and heritage. History that has been passed down from generation to generation and it can be seen through the fabrics and fibers that these designers use. Africans are taking back their culture, telling it from the perspective of those who understand and cherish their culture. Dominating the runways, designers knowninternationally are rebuilding Africa as a whole. Made In Africa is facing the battle head on — ready to take their rightful place in the fashion industry.
Article by Kalyn Kearny