African fashion is bubbling with creative ways to showcase your unique style. If you’re looking something both on trend and sophisicated, Chichia London is the perfect fit for you.
Run by Tanzanian designer Christine Mhando, Chichia London produces a handcrafted eclectic array of stylish dresses for the modern woman, including loyal customer, MTV VJ Vanessa Meade. Much of Chichia London’s quality comes from the label’s use of rich, East African textile, Khanga.
The Tanzanian fashion brand recently launched their latest collection, Chichia London Made by Africa, at ARISE Magazine Fashion Week in London. At this particular event they had the support of Tanzanian model Flaviana Matata.
I reached out to Chichia London’s founder and creative director Christine to ask how she broke into fashion, her memorable celebrity clients, and advice for brides!
When did you start designing and how did you get your start in the fashion industry?
I studied fashion design at [Kent] University and started working in the industry soon as I graduated. My first job was a runner for a high street garment manufacturer based in London.
African fashion is a huge trend this season. What are your thoughts on this growing “trend”?
There are lots of amazingly African/ African-inspired designers who, with their own different points of views (when it comes to design), are helping squash the idea that African fashion is nothing more than a “trend”. It seems to be getting bigger by the season which makes me believe it’s now more than a passing fad.
What is your greatest achievement since launching Chichia London?
Having my designs featured in magazines such as Marie Claire, Grazia, Cosmopolitan to name a few and also being invited to take part at ARISE Magazine Fashion Week in March 2011 are just some of the highlights.
What’s your favorite style from your collection and why?
My favorite dress (so far) from all my collections so far is the yellow lace print Khanga dress from the SS10 ‘Made in Dar’ collection, there’s just something about it that makes me feel like a doll every time I wear it.
Congratulations on having MTV VJ Vanessa Meade wear your designs on the red carpet recently! How did that come about?
We’re both Tanzanian and have mutual friends which made it easy for our paths to eventually cross. She got in touch with me before last year’s MTV Africa Music Awards and we hooked her up with a custom Chichia piece to wear for the event. Since then she pretty much does the same every time she has an event coming up (or just wants to shop, haha). She has a great personal sense of style and always adds her own personality to whatever she’s wearing.
Who are your ideal celebrity Chichia London clients?
Anyone that is into colour, print and can think outside the box when it comes to dressing up. Wall flowers need not apply!
You just launched your Curve-Accentuating Collection in Lagos, Nigeria for Arise Magazine Fashion Week! What did you love about being apart of that positive experience?
It was an honour to be among such amazingly talented designers and to witness the finest that Africa had to offer the fashion industry.
I noticed that your collection holds a Made by Africa tag. Can you explain to our readers the meaning behind that?
Made By Africa is actually the name of a brand that Chichia has collaborated with. They are an ethical jersey wear company based in Tanzania and we came together to produce womenswear range for winter 2012 mixing jersey and khanga prints (CHiCHiA for Made By Africa) to be sold in their stores in Tanzania as well as in the UK.
What style piece from your collection do you think will be best for brides to be looking for something different than the norm?
Depends on the type of bride and their style of course:
For the pretty bride to be: Yellow lace print khanga dress or the ruffle sleeve palm top (Both from the Made in Dar Collection).
For the more sophisticated bride to be: One jewel short sleeve print and plain fitted dress from the Made in Dar collection, the one sleeve black dress or the animal puff sleeve dress from the Insomnia Luxe collection.
What style motto do you want to pass along to our readers?
The only mistake a woman can make is to take herself too seriously when it comes to dressing up. Fashion is about having fun, people may not like what you’re wearing today but love what you wear tomorrow, so have fun!!
On behalf of the Munaluchi Bridal team, I would like to thank Chichia London for taking the time out to chat with us. Fans and admirers, you can get in touch with Chichia London through various social platforms – their website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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