Inamunai is an online portal for African couture fashion. The goal of our website is two fold, first, to bring the fashion of the East to the West and second, to raise awareness about Human trafficking. African fabric does not just represent fashion. In Africa fabric represents culture, history, art, and was even used as a form of currency in some countries. Our desire is to support designers whose passion and to bring knowledge of the amazing talent of these designers to the East. Since its inception, Inamunai has successfully dressed notable women, such as the notable Bonang Matheba and former Miss Black USA Osas Ighodaro. This curation platform continues to act as an excellent marketplace – bringing together two audiences to truly achieve the common goals of fashion.
Every designer has unique strong points and special talents which serve as the trademarks and visuals that define their brand. Inamunai’s online store displays the true art forms and essence of several well-known African couture designers. The Inamunai brand was founded by Mariam Garuba, a native Nigerian with a passion for clothes and dressmaking. She comes from a long line of seamstresses and dressmakers and since childhood has been fascinated by fashion shows and beautiful couture clothes.
Her admiration for fashion bloomed into the online clothing enterprise, but the main inspiration came when Mariam attended New York’s African fashion week in 2010. Sitting next to women who considered the featured designs as lovely, unique and desirable, it was clear that none had any idea where they could purchase the clothes. Mariam instantly recognized the need to provide a platform for those designers to engage with their fans and customers. A home for their fashionable art was needed-one that could serve their global audiences while serving the needs of both the designers and customers.
Some of the challenges Inamunai has faced working with designers is sourcing their products at times when they are also building their own brands, along with converting African fabric, which is primarily cotton based into other forms of fabric, such as silk and cashmere. Another challenge at times is shipping clothing out of Africa to the East. To this end, however, we received funding from Doterra (who also does work with combating human trafficking) together with the Survivor’s network to build a factory in Cameroon where we will have survivors who have been rescued live on a transitional basis. Along with housing survivors, the factory will allow them and seamstresses to create products for Inamunai. We are in the process of building the factory and applying for more funds to complete this project.
Advice I would give to others is: passion is the fuel to success. Business requires vision and endurance, but most of all hard work. Passion makes all of these things possible. My passion comes from knowing this is something God called me to do. In addition, success in business requires a team, so never be afraid to ask for help! If you are passionate about what you do, it will always be worth it.