Congolese designer, Anifa Mvuemba, gave a preview of what catwalks might look like in a post-pandemic world with a collection using 3D models.
Mvuemba released the latest collection for her fashion brand, Hanifa, on Instagram live on Friday. During the show, the models sashayed down the screen with their outfits draped on their headless, three-dimensional bodies.
The Pink Label Congo collection featured pants and dresses in vibrant colors on virtual models for its fashion show, and has been described as the future of runway fashion by spectators.
Mvuemba, whose previous designs have been worn by celebrities such as rapper Cardi B and singer Kelly Rowland says she already had plans to go digital with her collection before various Covid-19 restrictions were put in place around the world.
A tribute to African seamstresses
Mvuemba said during the launch that each of the outfits represents Congo, the central African country where she is from and which is one of the world’s leading producers of cobalt, accounting for more than 60% of the world’s production.
Cobalt is a chemical element used in producing smartphones, tablets and electric vehicles.
“I am so intentional about everything I do with this collection,” she said. “If you’re African then you know about African seamstresses and how detail is so important and the color is so important and prints are so important.
I really just wanted to use that in this collection, just to give tribute to African seamstresses,” Mvuemba said during the launch.
According to her, like with many African designers, she did a lot of detailing, coloring, and prints on the collection herself.
Congolese cobalt mines
The Pink Label Congo collection is not just about going digital. It’s also about raising awareness for Congolese mines.
Inspired by her hometown in Congo, 29-year-old Mvuemba started the fashion show with a short documentary on the experiences of children working in cobalt mines.
Underaged children and women work in these mines under harsh conditions including physical abuse.
Sometimes they are forced to dig for cobalt with nothing but their bare hands.
In 2019, Tech giants like Apple, Google, Dell, and Tesla were sued for their alleged involvement in using children to mine cobalt in the country.
Raising awareness on mines
Mvuemba said the Pink Label Congo collection was inspired by these mine stories and she is using it to bring awareness around it.
“Growing up, I heard so many stories about the cobalt and mining issues in Congo…a lot of times, there are children at these mines, a lot of them are losing their lives and a lot of families are affected,” she said.
The documentary showcased multiple reports from media organizations about the current mining conditions in Congo and the dangers of including children in the process.
Everything about the collection is related to Congo to serve as a reminder of these mine conditions, Mvuemba said.
“I really wanted to shed light on their conditions. And I want this collection to support and benefit the families that are affected,” she added.