Made in Africa: How Diaspora Fashion Is Being Reimagined

Publisher: Culture Trip
Author: Lizie Okah
Date Published: 4 September 2018
MIA London
MIA London is a tech and fashion formal wear and tailored streetwear brand based in London. However, their garments are handmade by expert tailors in South Africa and Zambia, with a long term goal of producing collections with local tailors in all 54 countries in Africa. Hence the acronym MIA (Made In Africa) and a unique selling point (USP) as having the ability to offer fast fashion and bespoke clothes from Africa with a quick turnaround.
MIA London sources tailors via recommendations from experts in the fashion industry in both South Africa and Zambia. Their next collaboration is set to happen in founder Aji Ayorinde’s home country of Nigeria.
Launched in 2016, the inspiration for MIA London was birthed when Ayorinde was in South Africa some years ago and in the process of getting a custom-designed suit for himself. Ayorinde now sees the brand as a means to showcase the expert tailors in Africa who are able to compete with the best, thus changing the narrative on African fashion.
In an interview with, Ayorinde discussed his process and the inspiration he found working with local tailors instead of with factories in China. The designer said that because of the handmade element of his brand, it was “important to demonstrate that it’s possible to get highly skilled tailoring made in Africa, commonly thought to be inaccessible. In addition to there being a developed textile industry in South Africa and a close-knit, forward-thinking creative community in Zambia.”
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