‘It’s a fascinating time to be on the continent, and a critical time to bring change into the stories told to depict it.’ Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane clearly means business when she talks about her work as a force for change, not only in her own country but across the continent of Africa.
Since launching her label SRK in 2012, she has shot straight to the top, becoming an icon of the alternative scene in Dakar and numbering among her clients model Falviana Matata and editor Poundo Gomis. She defines SRK as ‘a future pop art brand that aims to dress young afropolitans across the continent and other citizens of the world’
Raby Kane is well on the way to realizing that ambition. ‘In two years I see myself expanding into western and southern Africa through alternative distribution platforms.’ She is also making a name for herself beyond Africa. Items from her ‘Alien Cartoon’ collection, which turned Dakar’s old railway station into an invaded alien city, have been exhibited in Denmark and Switzerland, and at Design Indaba. Also, her last five collections have been distributed through her New York agency.
That commercial ambition is matched by an awareness of her cultural role. ‘I see myself contributing to the rebranding of Senegal and the continent by generating niche content,’ she says. How does she plan to do that? ‘Powerful synergies and collaborations can help us tell the powerful stories that are yet to be told.’