Designer Thula Sindi is known for his luxurious African creations, quality craftsmanship, and tailored designs.
He is an advocate for local creatives and entrepreneurship, providing an incubator platform for small businesses through his AfricaRise concept store - a space that brings together African fashion, jewellery, fine art, crafts and accessories under one roof. The aim is to make local artisanal goods be accessible to all - where customers can interact with the products and Afro-centric brands have a niche recognisable space to call their own. Now, AfricaRise is expanding into beauty.
The beauty, natural hair-care and wellness department will house ten specially-selected brands including Masodi Organics, Vana Naturals, Wick, Mocebon, Wick and Purpul Hair. Customers will be able to shop items such as face creams, lotions, scented candles, fragrances and hair care products all formulated by African creators.
“It’s very important to have spaces of beauty in commercial retail centres,” says Sindi. “AfricaRise is not just four walls and a door. It is a lifestyle, committed to the values of authenticity, innovation and quality without compromise. We are Africans and we have a collective duty to rise,’’ he says.
Glamour SA chatted to Thula Sindi to find our more about the concept, and the future of the African fashion and creative space.
Congrats on the addition of AfricaRise Beauty to your stores. Can you tell us a bit more about this concept?
Africa Rise Beauty has long been part of the plan for the offering of the Africa Rise stores it is the third part of a five-part offering expansion the beauty products available in produced on the continent are of high quality made by passionate founders and deserve to be in prime retail locations so my vision was just to create a space for that excellence
Why was it important for you to give African beauty brands a platform?
Beauty brands are integral to our expression as people not only fashion accessories but also how we take care of our skin take care of our home take care of our hair so that is part of the Africa Rise Vision.
AfricaRise is not just about representation but also accessibility - making local artisanal products available to all. What was your motivation for starting this initiative?
Access to market is our biggest challenge as black entrepreneurs and as creative entrepreneurs as a whole. It is difficult for us to get shop space that is in prime locations where customers can get in contact and purchase our goods, so creating Africa rise meant creating a clear pathway for all brands in South Africa - and on the continent - to take up space as entrepreneurs in the South African retail landscape.
What does the future of African fashion look like to you?
The future of African fashion sees local creatives finally monetizing our talent and skills, and finally being able to be financially secure whilst practicing our gifts.
What are some things you would like to see in the local fashion industry going forward?
I would like to see design entrepreneurs getting more comprehensive assistance from government agencies and the private sector. We have the talent and we’ve got the skills, all we need is the real financial support and access to market.
What are some of your aspirations for the future?
We hope to open more Africa Rise stores not only in South Africa but across the continent and beyond.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me is appreciating what you have and doing the absolute best with what you've got; radiating love and pride in the self.
Any words of advice for young African creatives and entrepreneurs trying to make it?
My advice to young entrepreneurs is to perfect their craft, connect with customers - especially on social media - build their own following, and find innovative ways to sell their product by using technology and the available retail space such as Africa Rise.