Designer corner: getting to know Anyango Mpinga
FA254’s ‘’African Designers For Tomorrow’’ alumni and African fashion prodigy Anyango Mpinga continues to make power moves after being selected in 2014 as one of the top contestants of the competition. A few years after her stint on the FA254 organized event, Anyango has seen her work featured in several regional and international media namely Almanach, the official magazine for Berlin fashion week as well as in Vogue Italia.
Her work has also been featured in the coffee table book “Mtindo- style movers rebranding Africa”, photographed by award winning photographer Daniele Tamagni and edited by founder of FA254 Waridi Schrobsdorff; and coffee table book “Not African enough”- a fashion book by the nest collective.
Having been nominated in 2015 for the designer of the year award at the Kenya Fashion awards, Anyango Marango received in 2016 the She Trades Collective (ITC Geneva) international design award by Luxe Usa, a global retail platform for international luxury brands, founded by Denise Bradley-Tyson.
A true style mover, Anyango describes her work as a testament of her love for art in motion while creating sustainable incomes for the artisans she works with across the globe.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Anyango Mpinga graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in social communication with a major in radio production after which she worked in the media industry as an event and public relations manager, a product development and branding consultant and also as an on-air radio presenter. Her fashion-calling came around the time she served as project director for the first edition of Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis Ababa in 2010 during which she was inspired to take her love for fashion beyond a hobby which she enjoyed. Soon after her return to Nairobi, Anyango made her dream a reality by starting her own clothing line Kipusa in 2011. Her vision was to create a brand that is synonymous with elegance, authenticity and style.
Speaking about her new collection The Proverbial Dreamer, to Vogue Italia she highlights how her love for Africa and her desire to get people to understand and fall in love with it manifests through the garments of the collection. She mentions how the prints from this collection are adapted from actual scarification patterns from various tribes across Africa such as the Akan people of the Congo Basin in West Africa, the Toposa people from South Sudan and the Bodi from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia; and how the collection in a way is a defiance of a society that teaches us that we should be ashamed of our scars. The collection embraces pride rather than shame as practised by the tribes that went through the Scarification ritual. Anyango’s designs and specifically The Proverbial Dreamer collection seek to explore various ways of promoting a positive body image for all women.
Drawing inspiration from people around her, the designer was also influenced by her favorite childhood dress which found its marking in her latest collection as well as Lake Elementaita Serena Camp located within the Soysambu conservancy.
‘’It has the perfect balance between nature and wildlife so it was only natural that I would go back there to shoot my Campaign for The Proverbial Dreamer there as it offered me the much-needed inspiration to create in a calm, peaceful environment. I also love the fact that it is by the lake. I love being anywhere near water”, she adds during her Vogue interview.
Anyango Mpinga’s vision which sees African brands having an opportunity to create unique collections that compete with other global brands on the same playing field laid basis to her collaboration with FA254. Creating an unforgettable global movement by investing and creating African Fashion brands that can stand and sell next to leading international brands in the same store with there being no difference in the quality and mastery of the product.
Written by: Faith Katunga