Dutch-African fashion label Afriek works on the basis mutual respect and equality
A marriage between Dutch design and Rwandan craftsmanship
Bringing together Dutch design and authentic African print fabrics and craftsmanship. Dutch fashion label Afriek combines the best of two worlds.
By Sinette Hesselink
After completing their Master in International Relations and Conflict Studies Sivan Breemhaar and Kars Gerrits started their label Afriek in 2013. Afriek works with tailors in Kigali, Rwanda, on the basis of mutual respect and equality.
‘We do not look down on the situation in Africa because things here “are not well regulated” or “need our help”,’ the founders say. ‘We want to extend the talents of the people we work with, together! Based on common values.’
Therefore, Afriek takes a different approach, admitting that things are different in Africa, but not necessarily better or worse compared to what we are used to in Europe. And realizing that the secret of prosperity lies much more in connecting and facilitating and maybe less in helping.
Afriek combines the design talent of Dutch fashion designer Jo Luymes with the talents of Rwandan tailors who operate in a long tailor tradition. In Kigali these talented craftsmen create an inspiring collection of hand tailored garments. Their commitment, close attention to detail and love for the fabric results in high quality and unique clothing. The label started out with men’s blazers, but currently consists of women’s wear and accessories too.
Because the craftsmen buy all fabrics on local markets, Afriek only can create limited editions: Of each item not more than 20 pieces are made in the same print.
The Afriek collection is for sale through it’s online shop. And for those living around Amsterdam there is an opportunity to see the full mens- and womenswear collection with fresh prints at Afriek’s Pop-up Shop: may, 3rd– may 8th 2016, Huidenstraat 13, Amsterdam.
Sinette Hesselink is a designer and trend forecaster based in Amsterdam