Birimian, the first operational investment company dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, has selected the finalists for its first call for applications (see list below). These finalists will join the IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa acceleration program, in partnership with the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM). The selected designers will also be highlighted at the Première Classe event organized by WSN as part of Paris Fashion Week from October 1 to 4, offering brands valuable visibility on the European fashion scene.
Launched in June 2021, IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa is an innovative acceleration program for emerging brands of African heritage in the fashion, accessories and jewelry sectors. Each year for ten months, the program, funded by Birimian, intends to support ten young designers selected by a committee of experts from the international creative scene. Brands participating in the program will also benefit from investment and / or advisory and support services from Birimian.
The Accelerator Program provides essential tools to develop emerging brands:
• definition of a brand platform
• strengthen the creative process
• targeting of the relevant audience
• establish a coherent marketing strategy
• Financial direction
• planning and structuring of collections
• distribution strategy
• communication policy, etc .;
This program is a unique opportunity for creators and emerging brands, both on the continent and in the diaspora, to obtain strategic, operational and financial support for ten months, allowing them to professionalize and organize their activities. This is a program focused on training the young African creative guard and promoting creative entrepreneurship.
The talent identification process lasted two months and involved research, active engagement with brands and selection of candidates in three segments: ready-to-wear (consumer and premium) for 80% of brands, ready-to-wear fashion (premium and luxury) and accessories for 20%. 85% of them are “made in Africa”. Their collective clientele reflects Birimian’s ambitions with a strong openness to the international market (40%) and a significant potential for influence beyond the borders of the continent. 80% of them have a turnover of more than US $ 50,000, one of the main selection criteria.
The first group, characterized by a geographic diversity representative of the main economic centers of the continent, illustrates the richness of the brands’ creative universes. It includes the following finalists:
● Christie Brown, Ghana
● Kente Gentlemen, Ivory Coast
● Loza Maleombho, Ivory Coast
● a thousand hills, Rwanda
● Mmuso Maxwell, South Africa
● Imperial post, Nigeria
● Rich Mnisi, South Africa
● Shekudo, Nigeria
● It’s us, Nigeria
● Umija, France – Burkina Faso
Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, CEO of Birimian, commented: “The class of designers invited to join the IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa program embodies the new African creative guard: tradition reinvented, undeniable creative talent, Afro-political, urban and digitally focused on the world, proudly showcasing their heritage through collections whose originality is well established. However, it remains fragile, hence the need to strengthen its fundamentals and provide them with operational, strategic, creative and financial support. This is the whole purpose of this program, which is fully in line with our investment strategy. Its network of experts and unique access to the ecosystem of the French and European creative scene will inevitably create value. We look forward to welcoming them warmly to Paris alongside the Institut Français de la Mode.
“The 10 brands selected for this first promotion of the IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa are full of creative talents and ambition for their development. The designers and entrepreneurs will work on all the components of their brand in order not only to strengthen their notoriety but also to develop sustainable businesses in an international ecosystem while preserving their African heritage. The right balance will be found by working together towards creative, inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurship, ”concludes Thomas Delattre, director of the Fashion Entrepreneurship Center at the Institut Français de la Mode.
The first operational investment platform dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, Birimian supports creators on the continent in their growth and long-term international development. Birimian’s main objective is to accelerate the international emergence of African designers by positioning itself as their major partner in four main sectors: fashion, accessories, beauty & cosmetics, and gourmet food.
Birimian is aimed at brands that bear the culture, tradition, history and cultural heritage of the continent, magnificent in its diversity, in their DNA and in their identity, brands that adapt to modern and contemporary codes.
French Institute of Fashion is a higher education establishment, an apprenticeship training center, a continuing education provider, as well as a center of expertise for the textile, fashion and luxury industries. It offers 16 educational programs at professional level, Bachelor, Master, Executive MBA and Doctorate, which prepare students for all careers in the fashion industry in the fields of management, design and craftsmanship.
Located in the heart of Paris on a new 9,000 m² campus, the Institut Français de la Mode welcomes more than 1,000 students of around fifty nationalities – managers, designers, technicians, entrepreneurs – promoting meetings, collaborations and cultural effervescence.
The French Fashion Institute is a member of HESAM University, of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). It is supported by the French Ministry of the Economy. It is recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.