LONDON – Selfridges is full of new projects, including a partnership with Untapped Creatives, a new platform for UK black-owned fashion, beauty and home businesses, with products arriving in stores and online on Wednesday .
Untapped Creatives was founded last year by international financial lawyer Funmi Scott and offers a collection of around 20 enduring luxury brands that showcase the work of African and British artisans.
Products are often made to order, or produced in small batches, and employ artisans in the countries of origin of the crafts or materials. The proceeds of some sales go to African charities.
Over the past year, Scott has said his goal is to raise the profile of black brands selling products, including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, beauty products, eyewear, watches and jewelry, accessories, home fragrances, toys and greeting cards by connecting them with high-end products. retailers and sales platforms.
Untapped Creatives also represents and negotiates on behalf of designers and brands; seeks to foster relationships with owners of black brands and to enter into long-term agreements with high-end retailers and businesses through its “Afro-Luxe” concept stores.
Selfridges said the products will be displayed in prominent positions in the London Oxford Street flagship store and available for purchase at selfridges.com.
Among them, men’s clothing by designer Olubiyi Thomas, a graduate of Central Saint Martins, of Scottish and Nigerian origin.
The designer, who is making his retail debut at Selfridges, seeks to merge British men’s tailoring with African cultural history. He works with durable materials such as scraps of fabric, which are then hand-woven to form new textiles, which Thomas calls “ReWeave” fabrics.
There will also be products from House of RG, a luxury ready-to-wear and bespoke womenswear brand from Nigerian designer Dorothy Ogwuru. The clothes are handcrafted by a small team of skilled craftsmen. The ornate V-neck mini Ume carries a price tag of 1850 pounds.
Accessory brands include Moyo by BiBi and Lolly & Kiks.
Moyo by the founder of BiBi, Bibi Ahmed, creates accessories using traditional methods of African beads. The pieces are made in the UK and Kenya, each intended to tell a different story through detail, color and shape.
The pieces are made by women and mothers from a Kenyan village. The creator’s wool and glass crown adorned with pearls costs 410 pounds.
Lolly & Kiks founder Xandra Kike-Spence was born in Nigeria and raised in London. She works with UK based artisans on her limited edition bags using African wax print fabrics from Ankara.
As part of this partnership, Selfridges will also supply the jewelry brands Rokus and Chalk Jewelery.
Marie-Paule Tano is the designer of Rokus jewelry, handcrafted in Ivory Coast and the UK. Beyoncé wore several Rokus jewelry in her 2020 movie “Black Is King”.
London-based design studio Chalk Jewelery is run by Malaika Carr, also a practicing architect. She works with sustainable wood and recycled acrylics. Her Thandi graphic-print walnut earrings are priced at 60 pounds.
“Our aim is to be a unique voice for black creative businesses,” said Scott, who was born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents and whose husband is Irish.
“From my professional experience and as creative entrepreneurs ourselves, we know that black-owned businesses struggle to access high-end retailers, and high-end retailers struggle to access them. We realized that by being a channel, we could hopefully solve the problems of black freelance designers, including concerns about access, funding, and long-term growth, as well as streamline the process of design. ‘buying teams to discover new dynamic brands’.
She said her goal with Untapped Creatives is to bring out “the abundance of creativity within the black community and to find a viable and sustainable economic solution to help black businesses reach that next level.