African brands like MaXhosa by Laduma, Pichulik and AAKS are currently on show in the United States as part of The Lion King pop-up concept shop at iconic department store chain Bloomingdale's.
The Carousel at Bloomingdale's is a constantly rotating pop-up shop driven by guest curators, and its sixth installment, on show from 11 July until 2 September, is inspired by Disney’s The Lion King
. German-Ugandan actress Florence Kasumba, who plays the hyena Shenzi in the film, helped curate the latest installment, titled 'Style Kingdom
', which encompasses a collection of Africa-inspired and -sourced fashion and home goods.
"[It's] an absolute thrill because I've been able to combine my love of fashion and film whilst connecting back to my African heritage," said Kasumba in a statement. "I love how The Lion King
can be interpreted through this new lens and connect with audiences in a unique and fresh way. I felt such a personal connection to the pieces I curated and I can't wait for people to see the collections, and the movie."
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The Style Kingdom concept celebrates the cultural significance of African design. It includes brands that empower communities with pieces sourced from and handmade on the African continent as well as exclusive products featuring popular characters and themes from the movie.
Among the South African designers represented is design wunderkind Laduma Ngxokolo, with knitwear from his MaXhosa label
, and Katherine Pichulik, whose bespoke jewellery is being featured.
Also included are printed tees from the Africa Your Time Is Now movement and luxury scarves from Mantua Silkwear, the brainchild of Stellenbosch-based designer Juandi Andrag.
Respected South African home decor brand Carrol Boyes represents SA with a range of animal-inspired kitchen and dining utensils, including elephant salad servers and a rhino bottle opener. Also available for the kitchen is coffee from Bean There Coffee Company, South Africa’s first certified Fairtrade roaster of African coffee.
“We’re excited to expand into the US market. Bloomingdales has a history of philanthropy and is a world-class retailer. It’s an amazing opportunity to partner with them to celebrate African pride,” says Bean There founder Jonathan Robinson.
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Products on show from elsewhere on the African continent include handbags by AAKS which are handwoven by Ghanaian women, menswear from Post-Imperial that's been hand-dyed in Nigeria using a traditional process developed by the Yorubas, and handcrafted bags from Khokho that are made by female artisans in Swaziland.
There's also Tribe + Glory, LemLem and CFDA Lexus Sustainable Fashion Award Winner 2018 winner Studio 189, all brands helping to empower African communities economically by working with artisans from the continent.
Style Kingdom is available at all locations of The Carousel – in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York – as well as online from the Bloomingdale's website