21 Jul What is The African Gentlemen Brand All About?
“2014 was the year The African Gentleman identity began to build momentum”
The African Gentleman Brand
The African Gentleman is a Zambian based fashion company. Owner, Mr. Chilufya Michael Chota stated that “The African Gentleman is not a dress code. By the very fact that I wear Chitenge material or African print, that does not in and of itself make me the African Gentleman, per se.” It was cited that the Chitenge material is merely an outward expression of internal God-given creativity and imagination.
“The African Gentleman is not a dress code but an identity. An identity that represents the best version of ourselves as Africans.”
Fashion and Design Overview
Mr. Chota believes that the African textile industry has strong potential to become an economic empowerment powerhouse for the people of Africa. “I’ve always been a huge believer in potential. I’m a huge fan of dreamers. And African fashion is a tool that our people can use to truly own our own and benefit culturally and economically,” Mr. Chota stated. “The rest of the world has been exploiting and expropriating our culture and designs without compensation and reselling them on runways in major fashion capitals at the expense of our ignorance and lack of business savvy,” Mr. Chota deliberated. In an article written by Samuel Tulinabo, it was cited that the African textile industry has immense potential to reduce unemployment and poverty levels as well as provide an economic boost to various African nations that embrace its empowering capacity. Once challenges such as political influence, low technology and inadequate technical human resource and markets have been conquered with strategic measures, the industry is set to be revived and thrive. Strategies that entail investment in infrastructure development such as factories that will support the entire supply chain of African clothing from manufacturing to design and retail stage, will be a move that will push the envelope and change the landscape of African owned business. Therefore as a brand and company, the African Gentlemen seeks to tap into this ‘diamond in the rough’ of African print manufacturing, design and retail that will benefit the African continent as a whole. “Every time I see fitenge material or African print, I see another chance to dream. I believe that fitenge material in its unique shape and size and design evokes hope. Hope like Les Sapeurs of the Congo,” Mr. Chota reported. “When you see us wear Chitenge, the aim is to inspire one to believe again. To believe in something bigger than one person, that ties all of us together just like the very Chitenge fabric we wear,” Mr. Chota explained.
“When you see us wear Chitenge, the aim is to inspire one to believe again”
Mr. Chota went on to explain how he grew up seeing his aunties and grandmothers wear Chitenge. Even citing the ladies at the market and even on sad days like funerals, where friends and family would wear Chitenge. “We mourn in Chitenge, we celebrate in Chitenge. To me, it’s more than just a fabric. Chitenge is like that family member we all have but never notice until they are absent,” Mr. Chota declared. “On special occasions even my uncles and grandfathers would wear them too. There was always this royal aura attached to Chitenge material that intrigued me, especially when my family members wore them,” Mr. Chota explained. It was cited that Chitenge styled clothing can never go out of style. Mr Chota reiterated that “it’s like saying DNA can become outdated or pass away like a seasonal fashion statement. Here today and gone tomorrow. Identity is who we are, and that can never lose relevance no matter the times.”
“We mourn in Chitenge, we celebrate in Chitenge. To me, it’s more than just a fabric. Chitenge is like that family member we all have but never notice until they are absent.”