Angolan fashion brand Congolinho creates some of the best fashion on the continent. We caught up with the designers of the label to find out how it all began.

Interview+Congolinho+Zen+Magazine+AfricaCongolinho is an Angolan fashion brand 

Zen: Tell us guys, at what point in your life did you decide you had to get into the fashion industry?
Congolinho: I’ve always been fascinated by the fashion industry although it was not an immediate career option. Creating my own brand was a late decision. The idea of working together with my daughter made me embrace the project with more enthusiasm.

Zen: What brought about the name Congolinho?
CongolinhoAfrican prints were our main inspiration when creating Congolinho. Combining these prints with other fabrics, creating unique pieces, was our main goal. The name reflects exactly this combination: “Congo” from “pano do Congo”, Portuguese name frequently given to the African print fabric, and “Linho”, Portuguese name for “linen”, that represents all the other fabrics we use in our creations.

Zen: Where do you sell from?
Congolinho: We sell and promote our products online on our website www.congolinho.com. We do not have a store but we may consider that in the near future. In Luanda, Angola, we do have a courier service that delivers where and when indicated by our clients. We use post office services to deliver to other cities and countries

Zen: Take us via your latest collection? How long did it take you to start and finish?
Congolinho: We usually spent a significant amount of time thinking our collections. From research, designing, samples and production we usually take a few months.

Interview+Congolinho+Zen+Magazine+AfricaThis Okavango dress is selling out online.
It’s one of the most ordered dresses from
Congolinho’s latest collection

Zen: Which pieces are your favourite from the collection or which pieces are selling out?
Congolinho: It is not easy for us to choose our favourite pieces but the Quiçama and Okavango dresses turned out to be exactly as we imagined and they are also some of the preferred dresses by our clients. Our Mirabilis top is also selling out very well.

Zen: What is the best compliment you have ever received from a client? 
Congolinho: We receive a lot of compliments from our clients all over the world but we really enjoy when they tell us that the pieces are much more beautiful live than in the pictures we share on the internet.

Zen: What’s the inspiration behind this collection?
Congolinho: We had an urban, modern yet easy-going woman in mind when designing this collection. The female silhouette is accentuated in almost all garments and we choose to use bright colours. This collection has definitely a much younger spirit than our last one.

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Zen: What’s the price range like for a skirt, top or for accessories?
Congolinho: Considering the pieces quality and originality, we believe that they have a reasonable price.

Zen: What’s the best advice you would give all upcoming designers?
CongolinhoDon’t be afraid to make mistakes, you can learn from them and adjust your goals. Face the adversities and always try to overcome yourself.

Zen: What can we expect next from Congolinho this 2014.
Congolinho: We have lots of projects to materialize this year, being our first kids collection the one that excites us the most. In the future we hope the reach a wider audience and consider the possibility to open a store in Luanda. The feedback we’ve been receiving makes us face the future with optimism.

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Zen: Describe African fashion with 4 words.
Congolinho: Referential. Emergent. Exuberant. Colourful

Zen: What do you think of Zen Magazine Africa?
Congolinho: A very interesting project since it’s dedicated to promote African talents in different areas like fashion and music, acknowledging Africa’s potential.

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For more details on Congolinho fashion, visit: www.congolinho.com
Join Congolinho on Facebook: Congolinho
Follow the brand on Twitter: http://instagram.com/congolinho