It is very easy for western fashion to cloud that from Africa because of the knack or love of many Africans for foreign made products. Thus, many people believe that it will be difficult to sell the idea of African luxury fashion to Africans and the world.
For Chekwas Okafor the founder and CEO of Onychek.com, he never accepted this perception. He believed African fashion exists (not just African fashion but African luxury fashion) and he actually established a platform which is enabling Africans to purchase luxury fashion from Africa. That platform is Onychek.com.
Okafor who founded the startup in 2016, explaining the reasons why he chose to deal in African luxury fashion said: “For one, it creates jobs. Growing up, I cannot remember wearing a ready-to-wear clothing from an African brand. When I thought of buying ready-to-wear clothes, I went to the second-hand market and made my choices. Only tailored clothing was prevalent, and they were worn for ceremonies. With that saying, making more ready-to-wear clothing locally will simply create jobs.
“Also, African fashion preserves culture. African designers are doing an incredible job of weaving culture into their designs. We are moving from Africa being a mere source of inspiration to African designers wholeheartedly bringing African culture to the forefront of the fashion “conversation” in a way the world hasn’t seen before. This is what the African luxury industry is doing. Bringing the African culture to the forefront of their designs.”
On challenges, Okafor said: “People still don’t associate Africa with Luxury. They find it difficult to understand why products made in Africa should be expensive. This is why we are focused on creating content that will help re-educate people about the quality and culture imbued in our products and what to expect from African brands. Making this common knowledge will take time just like anything new. We know this. That is why we are in for the long haul.”
Okafor concluded by advising budding entrepreneurs to focus on execution and also reach out to people in the industry even though they didn’t know me. This has proven to be valuable.
It is noteworthy to add that if you are ordering outside the United States, you have to pay an estimated shipping fee of $25 for these countries including Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, and even China.