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The word luxury can be defined as ‘an expensive and high-quality object that flaunts elegance.’ Historically, luxury items were regarded as unnecessary and used as a way to display wealth. Over time, luxury became a way to describe costly, well-made clothes.
In today’s world, we are bombarded by new clothing. With the ever-evolving social media hemisphere, it has never been easier to find and foray into new fashion brands. But how can we make the distinction between luxury and non-luxury fashion?
There are marked variances between the two, the most obvious of which being the price. Though this is one of the most important points of difference, it would be wrong to assume that this is the only aspect worth discussing. Other attributes include: craftsmanship, quality, accessibility, innovation and originality.
Luxury brands are multifaceted and aspirational. They are rooted in history and tradition. Their garments tell stories that sing true to their heritage. As a customer, you are not only purchasing the clothes, but buying into the brand and all that it represents. This is true of all fashion brands, to a certain extent, but it runs far deeper within the luxury hemisphere.
Luxury is synonymous with exclusivity. Unlike fast fashion and high street brands, luxury brands are not available to the masses. Their higher price point is one of the reasons, but in general they produce much smaller collections and release them infrequently. They are a rarity, which only fuels people’s desires to buy into them.
Premium prices are reflective of product reliability. Not only is each item made with the utmost skill and care, they are durable. Luxury items last. Anyone who has bought a luxury piece before will know that they are built to stand the test of time.
There is a misconception amongst the fashion-forward that African fashion brands are cheap. Granted, there are brands utilising lower-quality materials, tools and craft, just as there are lower-cost fast-fashion brands within the west. Where has this belief stemmed from?
Traditionally, many African fashion brands were not seen as being luxury. While there are several notable heritage brands in the western world - think Chanel, YSL, Dior - African fashion has remained somewhat contemporary.
In more recent years, the emergence of highly talented African Fashion designers has started to change this and we are now seeing more and more luxury brands born from Africa. Read our roundup of 10 African fashion designers to look out for in 2021 to discover some of the new names making waves within the industry.
Another important factor is fabrics. As previously mentioned, choice of textiles is paramount in determining quality and price. Some African brands had adapted traditional, high quality fabrics like Kente by using 'kente print,' a far cheaper alternative.
When it comes down to it, African luxury fashion is no different to any other kind. The dedication to creating exquisitely tailored pieces, the luxury price tag. So how do we differ?
Here at Sikaa, we set out to redefine luxury African fashion and African outfits for women. The belief that true luxury fashion brands originate from the west is a misconception - and one that we are here to challenge.
Unlike other more mainstream African fashion brands, we pride ourselves in delivering unparalleled craftsmanship and quality to the highest standard. Our garments marry modern silhouettes with traditional African prints and textiles.
Inspiration for our collections comes from the extensive natural beauty of Africa. Each pattern, colour and African print outfit represents a part of Africa and tells a specific story.
Pieces are handmade with the utmost care and meticulous attention to detail. Every element is considered, right down to the aesthetically pleasing buttons. The cut and fit of each garment enhances the body. Comfort is also our priority.
Despite what the general consumer might believe, not all luxury fashion brands are playing by the rules. Last year, the Fashion Transparency Index, which ranks the largest global fashion brands according to their social and environmental policies, revealed that only one luxury brand sits within the top ten. Interestingly, five luxury brands were amongst the lowest scorers.
Sustainability remains at the heart of all that we do. As such, we adhere to many commitments. All collections are produced ethically and responsibly here in the UK. Our fabrics are sustainably sourced from Vlisco and we work collaboratively with our local seamstresses who hand-craft every garment with love and care.
Whether it be one of our stunning two-piece African outfits or floral print dresses - there is something for everyone. Sikaa is not just a fashion label, rather a range of African outfits for women of all sizes, shapes and colours to truly express themselves and be all that they are unapologetically.
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