Okapi, the first ‘Made in Africa’ luxury leather goods brand, producing beautiful bags produced by the continent, is set to have its global debut, thanks to Net-a-Porter, who will become the label’s first international retailer.
The brain child of Hanneli Rupert – a South African artist living in London, who is also the daughter of billionaire Johann Rupert (of the giant luxury group, Richemont) – Okapi produces luxury handbags in blesbok leather from the Western Cape, precious metals and crocodile skins, after its launch in 2009.
Ms Rupert explained in an interview with The New York Times that she began to notice “lots of African influences in fashion” and began to wonder;
“Why shouldn’t Africa benefit from its own expertise? What if there was a way to showcase the local skill set that might also have the related benefit of job creation?”
Rupert’s accessories, currently stocked at Merhcants on Long (the entrepreneur’s retail store in Cape Town), are described as a cross between Saint Laurent and Balenciaga’s street-ready pieces, boasting high quality and style, and a brand mission to positively effect economic change in Africa, through local sourcing and production.
Alison Loehnis, the president of Net-a-Porter, said of Okapi;
“We really loved the ethos of the brand, loved the sustainability aspect and the idea of giving back to the community and we thought our consumers would respond.”
If by ‘respond’ Loehnis means continually refresh the Net-a-Porter site on our screens, while eagerly awaiting Okapi’s launch, then she clearly knows Team SPICE very well. We already have our eye on the violet “Lamia” bag for when it hits Net-a-Porter’s e-shelves; with its name translating as ‘The African Queen’ we definitely think this bag was made to reign our new season wardrobe.
Take a look at the rest of Okapi’s range, below;