There are two major problems that plague all emerging African brands, manufacturing and retail. Ethical initiatives and partnerships with Asian, American and European partners are slowly solving our manufacturing problems but retail seems a whole different calibre of problem. Selling to foreign markets proves a unique challenge because of financial and logistic barriers and is severely hindered by the overwhelming competition from international brands. The solution it seems, is to look inwards and sell to Africa’s nearly 1 billion citizens. But how do you sell to a market where there are only a handful of independent retail stores and no high street chain of fashion buyers? You start your own store.
This is what the design duo behind the fashion lable AKJP did with the opening of it’s flagship store in Capetown. By creating a space where it enjoys creative control, the label was able to truly project what the AKJP brand is.
But in the wake of the store’s success, Adriaan Kuiters and Jody Paulsen weren’t content to rest on their oars, they created the Adrian Kuiters Jody Paulsen collective, inviting other bespoke South African design labels to share their retail space with them. Originally seven designers made the AKJP collective, but in a new reopening on the 19th of May 2016 the collective introduced several more brands joining the collective. The brands that are currently stocked at the AKJP Collective store include: