The African Spirit Collection: The Making Of

The African Spirit Collection: The Making Of

This collection was designed and produced in The Gambia, it was photographed on the streets of it’s largest city, and by it’s emerging photographers. The African spirit exists within our clothing, through and through, and now you can wear it and release YOUR OWN AFRICAN SPIRIT!

Let us tell you the story of how we made and launched this collection and you’ll understand where our African spirit comes from!

As with all our collections, we start with by far the funnest and probably the most important part. Fabric shopping! Experience tells us, that If we get this part right, the collection will be awesome, get it wrong, a disaster…it really is that important. Our designs are NOTHING without the beautiful, electric, vivid, vibrant, wild, bold, fantastic African Wax Prints they are made from.

Fabric shopping with lucas and Adama

Next comes sampling. This is our favourite part, and the most face-to-face time we get with the tailors, which is always nice! We work with the tailors to make samples of our designs. Often creating 5-10 samples before we are happy and ready to start producing. Our latest product, The African Summer Puffer Jacket, incredibly was made with just 1 sample, which is unheard of. Jaineba who is the newest tailor in our team did a fantastic job, and we were happy for her to start producing straight away. Her right hand man Snookie helped with the finishing touches and we were ready.

Meet Our makers; Lucas, Jaineba, Snookie

The production stage is amazing to watch,. The head tailors begin to cut the fabric, working and teaching their apprentices along the way. They methodically cut out our order, often over 100 at a time, which a few years ago would have been impossible. When you come into their shops at this stage, there is colour everywhere! Offcuts are all over the place, and the shops are busy with apprentices learning from the head tailor. Once made the lowest level apprentice irons every article to perfection using an smoldering hot coal iron…you will never have better ironed clothes! They are then ready for inspection and pick up.

Omar is making our brand new African shirts

Our Gambian creative development program has meant that we are doing more and more of our photography in the country, by its young talent ,on its streets, and with its models; so we keep at least 2 of each for this…the rest gets shipped of to the UK ready for worldwide distribution.

Bitz photography shooting our African spirit collection

Using Gambian talent to help launch the collection has been an amazing thing to start doing. We want our clothing to represent Gambia, and take it Global! We wanted to start building a base for creative talent in the country for years to come. We found Bitz, a very young and upcoming photographer based in one of Gambia’s busiest towns, Lamin, near Serrekunda. He was the perfect person to start this program with. His photography was excellent, and he showed a creative spark that can sometimes be missing from Gambians. Now he works with us in our mission to capture the heart and soul of urban Africa.

Bitz Photography shooting our new African spirit collection

Well that’s how we made and launched the African Spirit collection, watch the extended interview and mini documentary with My Gambia below to watch some of the story unfold.

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Our clothing doesnt cost the earth, and it provides a chance at a future as bright as the clothing itself for some of its poorest citizens. Learn more about our social projects on our blog.

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