By Our Reporter
Imane Ayissi was born in Cameroun, the son of a family of artists and sportsmen: his father was a champion boxer, his mother had been elected Miss Cameroun in 1960 and his brothers and sisters are dancers and singers. He was a member of the Ballet National du Cameroun and subsequently toured with singers and choreographers, such as Patrick Dupont, which involved travelling to the four corners of the world. This is according to Not Just a label website.
It goes on to say, at the same time, he worked as a model, presenting the men’s collections of famous luxury and pret-a-porter brands such as Cardin, Dior, Lanvin, Givenchy, Yves Saint-Laurent and Valentino. He was also the subject of fashion features, advertising campaigns and artistic projects in fashion shoots by famous photographers.
But, above all, it is to his work as a couturier and designer that he dedicates himself. He became interested in fashion as a child in the Cameroun (it was there that he made his first garments for his mother and subsequently for one of the largest ateliers in the country).
Ayissi started his eponymous label in 2004 after relocating to the French capital to work as a dancer and model – walking for the likes of Dior, Givenchy and Lanvin. Although he initially created
looks for private clients, he has since gone on to show at several international fashion weeks, including Lagos, Dakar and Shanghai. He also has showrooms in New York and Paris; and his ready-to-wear cocktail dresses, crafted from Faso Dan Fani (Burkina Faso’s national textile), can be found at Alára – frequently described as Lagos’s answer to the iconic Colette in Paris.
He collaborates on a regular basis with other luxury brands (he created a line of dresses for the presentation of the Swarovski collection of jewellery and accessories at the Carousel de Louvre in Paris in 2004), but also with more accessible brand labels such as Multiples (a French pret-à-porter label that sells at affordable prices) or La Redoute.
Imane Ayissi is also involved in fashion training projects and the creation of a textile industry designed to help foster economic growth in Africa and, in particular, in the Cameroun.