Fashion Product Lab, a programme designed in 2016 by entrepreneurs' club Mettā to equip upcoming pan-African fashion designers with brand and market knowledge has unveiled the designers selected to join the second cycle.
Eight participants were selected from 140 applicants from across the African continent to be part of the programme that commences in October and culminates with a runway show in December. Of the finalists, three are Kenyan while the rest are spread between Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The six female, and two male designers are described as "eager to lead disruptive fashion businesses".
As part of the 8-week Product Lab in Nairobi, the 2017 cohort will have the opportunity to engage with high-profile speakers, expert mentors, and a global network of support. Start-ups will also have access to a space, industry resources, zero cost and zero equity, 500 investors and serial entrepreneurs.
Who are the Lucky Designers?
The designers accepted into the programme were selected after a rigorous multi-phase selection process which focused on the viability of their fashion businesses, creative designs and portfolio, and their potential to scale across the continent and globally. They are: Nkatha Karauri of  Ihsani Culture, Sam Omindo of Genteel, Mayada Adil of Mayada Adil, Chenesai Mangoma of Chenesai, Nqobile Zinyerenge of MINEstitched, Tobilola Ajibola of Dresses by Aloli, Valerie Nyamwaya of Afrivazi, Guy Zziwa of Thirty.
The intensive curriculum tailored to the needs of early stage fashion businesses will include workshops on fundamentals of fashion design, marketing and communication, sourcing and supply chain, distribution models, merchandising, branding, pitch training, styling and more.
The Fashion Product Lab will culminate on December 2 at the Metta Demo Day, where entrepreneurs will pitch their start-ups, showcase their collections for funding and partnerships.

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Alix Grubel

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