Made to Order is one of those fashion phrases with a lovely luxurious ring. You’ll notice it appears regularly as a tag when scrolling through product curations on Industrie Africa. “It signals a piece that’s only produced once the order has been placed,” says Industrie Africa's Buying and E-Commerce Executive, Nadjelika Sylla. This process opposes the impersonal fast fashion model often associated with e-commerce shopping, and for a good reason. “Contrary to the standard model in fashion where brands produce first and then try to sell the available stock,” explains Nadjelika, “the Made to Order model helps reduce waste and preserve resources, as the demand drives production.”
From concept to construction, Made to Order also means the product is created in a particularly mindful way: “These pieces are hard to mass-produce due to the techniques and material used, thus requiring a certain manufacturing time,” says Nadjelika. Though some products take up to three weeks to produce, their high-quality (often handwoven) fabrication and unique detailing make them well worth the wait. Add to that the sense of exclusivity that comes from limited production runs, and you have a bona fide wardrobe hero on your hands.
Nadjelika recommends our Made to Order edit for anyone “looking for an item that will allow you to stand out and have a strong story.” She has her eye on the playful Ameena mini bag from FemiHandbags with its supple cowhide and colorful fringed Aso Oke fabric, handwoven in Nigeria. As with all Made to Order products, this is an intentional trophy piece designed to last well beyond the current trend cycle. In the spirit of conscious shopping for meticulously crafted pieces with style longevity, we’ve curated three Made to Order product moods for you to explore.
Versatile suiting to refresh your everyday rotation
Suiting is always a wise purchase because of its wonderfully varied styling possibilities. There’s longevity in versatility: together, pieces have a formality that functions in and beyond the office, while separately, they add welcome additions to your jacket and trouser rotations. A reliable go-to for business meetings, the Ojongo set from Nigerian label Emmy Kasbit with its eye-catching Akwete weave trousers and jacket panel, has a tailored formality that means business. The design’s asymmetry brings a sense of playful style that feels just as appropriate for after-work drinks or evening engagements you don’t have the time to change for. Day-to-night dressing may sound cliché, but this suit masters the transition with ease. South African label Viviers’ pearly silk-hemp suit feels borderline bridal. While there’s no question that this is an ultra-chic wedding dress alternative, the suit’s everyday styling capabilities should not be underestimated. The blazer and trousers are designed to be worn individually, elevating casual looks with their iridescent sheen. Contemporary silhouettes (boxy on the jacket, wide-cut on the trousers) mean they pair seamlessly with casual denim or slogan tees, giving you easy access to high-low styling. Made in limited quantities with labels signed by the artisan, this suit embodies the elevated practicality of a great MTO design.
RELAX, TAKE IT EASY
Enhance your off-duty aesthetic with elevated comfortwear
The pandemic has solidified the relevance of comfort dressing in our style vocabularies. Karl Lagerfeld’s quote about sweatpants as a sign of defeat is no longer relevant. In a world where tracksuits can also be fashion statements, investing in high-quality comfort wear with unique designs makes sense. Orange Culture’s White Heart Tee is a perfect example of a thoughtfully designed, easy-wearing piece. The heart print is hand-dyed in Lagos using the ancestral Adire technique of Nigeria’s Yoruba people, creating purposeful imperfections that give the tee a handcrafted feel. Made from an upcycled cotton and spandex blend, Lisa Folawiyo’s Antique Baroque leggings will establish you as a fashion front runner at any off-duty activity. Perfectly comfortable to wear around the house or to inject a touch of print into your look as a base layer, their effervescent motif will energize any ensemble. Whether you’re running to the gym, grocery store, or hopping on a flight, New Tangier’s Red Karima Weekender bag will simplify your life with ample packing space while making a statement with geometric Moroccan-style embroidery. The cotton exterior is handwoven in one of the oldest weaving ateliers in Fez, Morocco. Silk trimmings are made in Tangier, and the hardware is sourced from Italy. This bag may be the simplest way to elevate your favorite loungewear looks, but it’s the added element of utility that makes it a true wardrobe hero.
MAKE AN ENTRANCE
Feminine statement pieces to make a lasting impression
Looking for a statement piece to recharge your post-lockdown wardrobe? Our boldest MTO designs use unapologetic feminine energy to make their presence known. Christie Brown’s Joromi Peplum Jacket subverts the traditional straight lines expected from a blazer, emphasizing the waist and employing a softer, curvy silhouette. Its unexpected perspective on a classic blazer design is guaranteed to garner compliments anywhere you wear it. The Ghanaian label’s Kente Full Skirt, with its rich green and ochre tones and voluminous silhouette, is an elevated take on daywear that stands out for all the right reasons. The fabric is handwoven from a mix of cotton and silk yarns and then hand embroidered using traditional techniques. Shekudo’s over-the-knee Falana OTK Boots make an equally powerful statement. Compatible with just about any hemline, you can choose to have them peek out from below a skirt or rev up a fitted pair of jeans. The Aso Oke striped fabric is woven with the traditional techniques of southwest Nigeria’s Yoruba community. The resulting pattern and hues will vary slightly, meaning you can say with certainty that no one else owns a pair quite like yours.
Enhance your look with these Made to Order accessories
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