We talk to the designer of label FroQ AfriQ, Wanyika Mshila.
Can you describe where the inspiration for your label comes from?
There were soo many things that would have led me to start my own label but the one that stands out the most was a conversation I had with a friend who pointed out how my outfits always incorporated an African accessory no matter how western the actual clothes were. And that was my light bulb moment! I just felt that was it. I had never felt like there was anything in the market that could express who I was and hence FroQ AfriQ was born, with the intention to merge my African Heritage with my Western Experience.
What is you background and what lead to you where you are today?
I was born in Kenya and came to Australia as a student 10 years ago. As I studied I also pursued my passion of dancing and performing and was involved in a couple of dance groups in Sydney. I used to teach Dance classes as well. I gave up the dance career due to an injury but I hope to one day get myself in gear and get back to it. Just prior to starting my business I was working on Mortgage Broking – I know it’s so different to this! But it served me well in terms of knowing how a business works, working with numbers and figures etc. I enjoyed it and wouldn’t change that experience for anything but deep down I knew it wasn’t my calling and I finally gathered the courage to pursue Fashion.
Where do you go to get inspired?
I get my inspiration from everywhere and thanks to my handy phone every time an idea pops to mind I put it down and review it later to see if it’s viable. But I’d have to say I get my best ideas when I’m dancing! Strange but true. I’ll have moments where I’ll be listening to a great song and planning choreography in my head and viola! Out pops an idea. Go figure!
Can you tell us about your surroundings and your design process?
I’ve got a home office where the developing of the idea and background research takes place but the actual making of the products happens in a factory in Sydney, everything is handmade.
Which materials do you love working with and how it makes your label stand out?
I’m learning a lot about leather and love working with it. The exciting thing about leather is different hides produce different finishes which when combined with the African fabric can change the look of an item completely. And that combination – something African, something Western is what makes the label stand out.
What are you looking forward for the rest of this year for FroQ AfriQ?
Wow, I look forward to expanding the brand and exposing more people to what African Fashion is and can be. I also look forward to growing both as a person and a business. Can’t wait for what the rest of the year has in store!