Cover Story

The Stars Lighting Up Africa: Meet NIUKU, the Mauritanian Label from LFW Digitalizing Sales of Artisanal Fashion

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In (This) 2022, NIUKU will launch the e-shop and start selling internationally after setting up a workshop studio, and keep collaborating with various cooperatives of experts in handmade dye.

— Exciting words from Kadiata Diallo (Niuku Djawal), the incredible designer who wants to use her brand as a focal point for her country, recognizing it as one that preserves the Artisanal dye techniques.

NIUKU Djawal, Moda Culture
Kadiata Diallo (NIUKU Djawal), Moda Culture AJ2022

From going back to the Origins, to a 2022 takeover, NIUKU — the Mauritanian label from the Lagos Fashion Week — is about to digitalize sales of her pieces, which are a hundred per cent made from artisanal dye techniques. NIUKU was birthed in 2013 by Kadiata Diallo (Niuku Djawal), the first African woman to be named as a finalist in the ANDAM FASHION AWARD creative label section in 2017 and the laureate of the Maison Mode Méditerranée prize in Marseille.

On the ‘Niuku Djawal’ expression, Kadiata says,

Niuku Djawal is an expression that my grandfather used to call my grandmother because she was very hospitalable but quite reserved. But her real name was Kadiata.

I’m Kadiata Diallo, the one who’s inherited both names.

Kadiata Diallo, Moda Culture April – June 2022

Kadiata’s label, Niuku, prioritizes sustainability, deconstruction, and artisanal dye techniques, and puts it at the vanguard of conceptualizing her designs. After giving what we would call a strong and cohesive, yet tributary and affectionate collection, at the first physical showcase Post Covid-19 and 10th year anniversary of the fashion event, they let us know how immensely honoured they feel participating, and how impactful the opportunity has been. 

After the 2021 LFW, the brand has gotten more recognition as the first international Mauritanian label and getting more orders from all around the world as well as proposals of collaborations with fashion agencies. It was important to represent the Mauritanian culture and my concept of going back to the origins.

Kadiata Diallo, Moda Culture April – June 2022

No one would have thought that supply chain issues wrought by the pandemic, which affected several labels, ever came close to this Mauritanian brand. At least from where we’re sat, it seems like a boom time for the brand, regardless of the status of “Miss ‘rona’’ and her variants.

For Moda Culture April – June 2022 cover story, Elvis Osifo speaks to Niuku, an African fashion brand which has been identified as one of the most earth-conscious brands by their actions of practising sustainability, circular fashion and fashion deconstruction.

Read the full interview in Moda Culture April – June 2022 digital issue.

Moda Culture April - June 2022 Cover

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