Entrepreneurial African women just make ABINA proud. That’s why I am always in full support of talented artists, designers, stylist, you name it. I was a co-host at the African festival and I noticed a fashion show taking place at the other side of the venue. I thought: damn, those models look good. The reason why they looked that good is because they were wearing Qalanjo, a Dutch based Somalian fashion brand with a store located across where the festival was taking place. Everything looked right, from the styling to the hair. African fashion from Head to Teaux. Based on how sophisticated and chic the collection looked, I became very curious to who and what Qalanjo is all about. So I dropped by.
Qalanjo (pronounced Chalanjó) is a Dutch based African fashion store located in The Hague, The Netherland founded by 2 sisters: Deeqa (38) and Sagal Gelle (33) . Qalanjo sales ready-made and custom made clothing for both male and female. Which is very smart to do, considering that Africans love custom made clothing .In the Western communities, custom made clothing doesn’t work as much. But it does in the African communities.
“We look for what we know our customers will love. Our benefit is also that we produce custom made clothing. As a result, we can create fashion that fits the preference of our women, perfectly”
Qalanjo’s collections are inspired by West African, East African and even Arabic cultures. The clothing they distribute primarily come from Dubai, Ghana and Kenya. Qalanjo is yet to take the Qalanjo experience to another level. Soon it will be possible for the public to hold a high-tea event at the Qalanjo fashion store, where they have a special place reserved for their events. Trust me, the place looks beauiful. If you want to know how a room looks like decorated in African interior, you need to drop by if you can.
The sisters came to the Netherlands as refugees. Both sisters run Qalanjo next to their full time jobs. Deequa works for the government. Yet the sisters take the time to combine their passion with their full time work. Deeqa and Sagal both design their Qalanjo collections. The first dress they designed still holds a prominent place in the store. They chose not to sell their first dress, because it symbolizes the beginning of their collections.
What I love about Qalanjo is their diversity of fashion collections. Somalian culture is influenced by a variety of cultures, like the Arabic culture. As a result, Qalanjo doesn’t only sell clothing that look West African or carry Ankara prints, but also showcases East African looks and Arabic looks. The clothing that was showcased at The Hague African festival was elegant and chic. The sisters shared with me that that collection was sold out that day. And it’s no surprise. The collection embraces our African curves very well. It’s that kind of collection that also women who wear head scarfs out of religious values can wear. Also, the collection will be very appealing to the non-African groups of women, due to the styles and the icombinations with other types of fabric, like lace and more.
I sometimes talk about the African market from an economic perspective. At some points, I may mention in an article, that I don’t see the market of a certain brand. With that I mean: will people pay for it and what groups of women or men will wear that collection? The African fashion scene is such a scene that people can copy a look and have it re-sewn by some Taylor. In the west, Zara and those type of stores copy what’s on the runway and that’s it. In the African scenes, we find someone to sew it. It doesn’t mean that people will not pay for your designs it’s just that you need to allocate your brand in a way, whereby it’s hard to duplicate and your target group can purchase your collections at suitable locations. I mentioned that I didn’t see the market of a brand named Ms. Ray Couture after she showcased her collection at AFWB. I wrote that she did her thing, which was a compliment. This lady went cray and told my friend to tell me not to write about her, because she felt as if I bashed her. Meanwhile, my comment wasn’t to discredit her work at all. It just talked about my view.
Qalanjo however showcases a young adult and sophisticated collection. It is no surprise the collection was sold out that day. I believe that especially women from the age of 25 and from all kinds of backgrounds will undoubtedly love it.
Qalanjo is located in Spui 263, 2511 BP in the The Hague, The Netherlands and their doors are open on Thursdays to Fridays from 10am to 9pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 7 pm.