The international market is changing and consumers are seeing an increased interest in transparency, sustainability and in African brands in general. Mille Collines is a luxury womenswear and accessories brand made in Africa. Mille collines seamlessly blends the creativity, strength and culture of the African spirit with ever evolving global fashion trends. Digitalization has allowed African direct-to-consumer brands with a powerful story to reach a global audience that they would not have been able to a few years ago. Mille collines attention to detail and passion for telling beautiful stories shines through every product and experience they create globally.
The story of Mille Collines began in Kigali in 2008 when the paths of two passionate women crossed: Antoinette, a Rwandan seamstress and Ines, a Spanish design student. These two women shared the same vision; a belief that uniting talents would lead to creating ground breaking products in Africa. Ines’ best friend Marc joined her in Rwanda and with Antoinette’s mentorship they created the first apparel collection. Marc and Ines went ahead and established Mille Collines fashion brand in 2009.
One of the values of mille collines since the beginnings of the brand has always been to respect the tradition of handcraft found in the African continent. They are also empowering the local communities that contribute to building their brand and preserving the African heritage through designs and storytelling. Their contribution to the world of fashion has earned them a two-week incubator program, the IFM Birimian Accelerator X Africa founded by Birimian Ventures in partnership with the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris, France.
Mille Collines is on the fore front of grooming diverse leadership. The brand has a team comprised of 72%women all from different nationalities. The brand also has a team of 69% of people of color in senior management positions. Below, we have highlighted some of the fashion designs that Mille Collines creates.
The Kichana wrap is made of 100% cotton yarn with a soft handle; it is perfect for in between seasons. The wrap features a signature jacquard print inspired by the traditional Mali mud cloth textile. It is reversible and has an armhole on one side for ease of wear; it is also flexible allowing you to wear it in several different ways. The Kichana wrap is knitted in Cape Town and comes in one size.
The Simbisi sweater is a classic mille collines item and has become one of their signature pieces. The Simbisi is easy, comfortable and fits different body shapes. It can be worn casually or styled up for a more formal look. Made of 50% organic cotton and 50% modal, it has a soft handle with a round neckline, long sleeves that feature a custom African print detail on the cuff. It also features a slit halfway through the back seam with a delicate hem finish. The Simbisi is available in black, navy and sand.
This elegant brass cuff is hand cast in Kenya and features a cow bone detail in the center. Their brass is made from old padlocks that are melted in high heat then poured into a mould, the brass is then polished through a process called electroplating where a coating is put on the item to prevent the brass from changing colour.
This elegant handbag is handmade in Kenya using genuine leather and brass buckles. It features an African print fabric detail that adds a pop of colour and flair to this timeless design. This bag comes with an elephant key ring made from vegetable-tanned leather.
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I am a beauty, lifestyle, and fashion content writer. I have worked with diverse clients over the years and some of my best qualities include being cooperative, patient, and always striving to meet my clients’ specifications. I developed an interest in fashion and fabrics from a young age. I have also had the opportunity of engaging in second-hand clothes retail business in Gikomba Market, Kenya.