Fashion designer Anifa Mvuemba is set to make her runway debut for her label Hanifa. After issuing a ground-breaking 3D virtual runway show streamed on Instagram Live in June 2020, Mvuemba readies an in-person event showcasing her designs for the first time on the catwalk.
According to WWD, the fashion show is set to take place at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 16.
“Showing in D.C. really hits close to home because it’s where my family migrated when we first came from Congo. In many ways, it’s like paying homage to the city, and it’s also where I’m based,” shared the designer.
She added of the venue, “Oh my God this place is incredible. And it worked within our budget. When people think of D.C., they think of government and all of those things and a working city. When [it] comes to fashion, it’s not the first city you think of. I just want to show people another side.”
The Hanifa brand was launched nearly a decade ago, with Mvuemba uploading an image of her first dress on Instagram on Nov. 16, 2011. Not only does the landmark runway show fall on the 10th anniversary, but it also coincides with the designer’s 31st birthday. According to the official Hanifa website the company was “inspired by a woman’s journey to a life without limits.”
“When I design Hanifa, I don’t talk about where I’m from. [Pink Label Congo] was my chance to tell people, I’m African and I’m also from Congo and we have this crisis back home,” she said to WWD. “A lot of times when you come out, being an African designer, you’re categorized as an African designer. I didn’t want to come out with tribal prints.”
As CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Mvuemba used the $50,000 prize money to finance the show. “If they’re giving you 50 grand and you’re planning a show, it’s all going toward that,” remarked the 30-year-old.
Mvuemba plans to invite the press, close friends, and family, as well as fans of her fashion label to the debut show. The event will showcase her fall collection on the runway with 25 looks available for purchase online after the fashion show in sizes ranging from XXS to 3XL. The Hanifa brand will also add footwear, which will be showcased on the runway. The footwear, which ranges from sizes 36 to 42 EU and is produced in-house.
“I would have never made it this far without my customers. They are so supportive. It’s like a team. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
The brand has issued a casting call for models hoping to walk the runway. Check out the virtual fashion show for Pink Label Congo below: