Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Stella Jean & Liya Kebede Create Limited Edition Range for ‘Uncrate Africa’

Top Haitian designer, Stella Jean and supermodel-turned-label-owner, Liya Kebede have joined H Project’s “Uncrate Africa” – an initiative seeking to improve health and habitats in the continent – creating limited edition garments that raise funds for East African artisans.

The annual initiative by Canadian brand Holt Renfrew sees H Project’s pop-up boutique, titled “Uncrate Africa,” running throughout certain Holt Renfrew stores, with the team having travelled to East Africa to collect materials for a limited edition range, created by designers in partnership with artisans in Kenya and Rwanda.

The collection, made up of Stella Jean’s amazing animal cuffs and Ms Kebede’s printed, cotton garments, among other items from designers including Dannijo and Brother Vellies, will be available to buy throughout three pop-up boutiques, stationed in Holt Renfrew venues in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, with proceeds supporting the culture, craft and employment in the East African countries.


Stella Jean, who has had much success with her menswear and womenswear collections, and who has been a part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative since 2013, said of the venture;

“It’s about a proper, accountable business that is environmentally sound, promoting sustainable economic development and opportunities in countries that do not need our charity.

What better time to demonstrate that boundaries are just a state of mind?”


Ethiopian model Liya, who founded her brand Lemlem in 2007, and who has been involved with many charitable causes through fashion, explained;

“It’s wonderful to be a part of the H Project, which celebrates many brands with similar missions. As a united group, we are that much more powerful.

When you’re creating, it should always be socially responsible.” 

Leandra Medine of fashion blog, Man Repeller fronts the campaign for Uncrate Africa
Leandra Medine of fashion blog, Man Repeller fronts the campaign for Uncrate Africa

To help promote the project, Holt Renfrew’s H Project team enlisted the help of tastemakers Aurora James (creative director of African footwear brand, Brother Vellies), Leandra Medine (fashion blogger behind popular platform, Man Repeller), and Amanda Weiner (senior accessories editor at Harper’s Bazaar) among others, with Alexandra Weston (Holt Renfrew’s director of brand strategy) saying;

“Customers appreciate the stories and journeys behind the products they purchase – the hands that made them and the lives they touched. There is something really special about this concept.” 

Other brands involved in the initiative include Ziya Kenya, Me to We and Made, who each employ local Kenyan artisans to provide employment opportunities and support sustainable fashion.

The "TiIndigo Usiki" clutch by Me to We
The “TiIndigo Usiki” clutch by Me to We

See below a behind-the-scenes video of the photoshoot for the Uncrate Africa collection, and be sure to purchase any of the range – including Stella Jean’s cuffs and Liya Kebede’s cotton goods – when you’re passing by Holt Renfrew’s stores this month.

Video & image source: Holtrenfrew.com, Thekit.ca

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