The Congo Fashion Collective is a government-sponsored fashion show with the goal of promoting Congolese talent and giving them a global audience. Its first show during New York Fashion Week SS2020 will focus on four of the DRC’s most promising designers: Laetitia Kandolo, Victor Otem, Marie-France Idikayi and Richie Maya.

Congo Fashion Collective is organised by the Congo Fashion Institute, the organisation that hosts Congo Fashion Week, French Africa’s biggest fashion rendez-vous. Together with the newly elected Congolese president, Felix Tshisekedi, Congo Fashion Institute hopes to continue shedding a positive light on Congo and highlighting its homegrown talent.

Laetitia Kandolo is an artist influenced by multicultural inspirations. Her brand UCHAWI conveys a whole set of ideas that reflect her optimism, joy, hope, courage and strength. Her designs have been featured at the African American Museum of Detroit during a 6-month exhibition. She will be the first African designer to create costumes for the CASA Fashion Show next October in Casablanca.

Victor Otem is a young visionary who achieves distinction and perfection (or as close to as possible) in everything he does. His creations are worn in Congo and around the world. Today, Victor is one of Congo’s most in demand designers, particularly in the evening wear category.

Marie-France Idikayi is the founder of the Congo Fashion Institute. She began her career as a journalist, and her passion for fashion and Africa has lead her to launch her collection during Congo Fashion Week 2018. Her goal is to make known indigenous Congolese materials, namely the Kuba fabric which hails from her native province, Kasai. Marie-France designs for bold women and wants to encourage Congolese designers to stay true to their roots when it coms to their art.

Richie Maya is a self-taught designer bursting with creativity and talent. His brand Richie Maya was launched during the Congo Fashion Week 2015. Since then, Richie has developed a devoted clientele in Congo and abroad. In 2018, he was a finalist of the Vlisco Fashion Fund competition. 

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February 2019


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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows