We love discovering new fashion brands that not only offer a range of must-have fashion items but also proudly promote the continent of Africa. One of such brands we discovered recently is Paakow Essandoh-led sportswear brand Mizizi.
Meaning roots in Swahili, Mizizi specializes in creating streetwear that is “inspired by various cultures revolving around [the African] heritage”
In a new interview with Vogue, Paakow discusses his inspiration, the Mizizi team which also include Temi Thomas, Rebecca Antwi, Kwesi Yanful, Ken Obeng, and Mizizi Mama, as well as the line’s ongoing success.
Read excerpts from the interview below
On the inspiration behind the brand
Going from Texas to Florida was a complete culture shock to me. In Texas, there’s a lot of Africans—in Florida, there’s not so much. It was really hard for me to connect with the different groups of Black people out there.
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, in a really whitewashed city, and I completely shunned my African culture. The fact that I’m able to reconnect with it now, and show off where I’m from, it’s empowering.
On the brand design and aesthetics choices
I play sports, but I can’t say that I was ever good at them. The [sport] aesthetic was a way to connect American culture with African culture in a more modern way. We had an Africa jersey that had all the flags on it to be inclusive for everybody. And not just African flags—it had Caribbean flags on it too. When I was doing my research, I figured out that each of those countries have the biggest enclaves of populations within the United States. It seemed like the best way to approach the [U.S.] market would be to reach these base communities.
On Mizizi being more than just a jersey brand
Mizizi is a celebration of identity. It’s formed a giant community of different diasporas all within one giant conglomerate of the Black diaspora. It’s a bridge through clothing.
Read the full interview on www.vogue.com