At the forefront of the diversity and inclusion movement that is sweeping through the luxury retail space, Untapped Creatives’ unique Afro-Luxe Concept will be launching in Selfridges on May 26th 2021. A ground-breaking collaboration with the luxury retailer, the partnership will see British Black-owned brands displayed in prominent positions in Selfridges’ London flagship on Oxford Street and available to buy on Selfridges.com.
The first company of its kind to work with stores in this way and on this scale, Untapped Creatives, founded by Funmi Scott, represents a diverse portfolio of Black-owned brands that sell a range of luxury and sustainable lifestyle products. The Selfridges partnership is a culmination of 12 months of Funmi’s focus, having ownership of a project that encapsulates Untapped Creatives’ key goal to raise the profile of Black brands by connecting them with premium retailers and sales platforms that are looking to take tangible inclusive action.
Carefully selected with an editorial eye, Untapped Creatives’ curated collection of over 20 brands to date, encompassing men’s and womenswear, childrenswear, beauty, eyewear, jewellery, accessories, watches, home fragrances, toys and greeting cards, reveals the luxury of African artisans and beauty of African craftsmanship.
-Ori – a beauty brand founded by lawyer Titi with a proud origin in Afro textured hair care. This launch sees the first heat cap in luxury space (essential for black hair care) and first brand dedicated to afro-textured hair at Selfridges.
-House of RG – a luxury ready-to-wear and custom womenswear label that will be debuting its new Capsule Collection exclusively at Selfridges. Fusing the decadence and embellishments of designer Dorothy Ogwuru’s Nigerian culture with the sharp, bold lines of Western clothing, each one-of-a-kind creation is a statement piece, entirely handcrafted by a small team of highly skilled artisans.
-Fela and Friends – handmade dolls which are the true definition of inclusivity as they cover boys and girls along with every skin colour. Created by Femi, a mother who couldn’t find toys that her child could identify with, so not only created that, but toys that would resonated with all children.
– Afro Touch Designs – an independent handcrafted afrocentric greeting card brand that uses Ankara print. Founded by Georgina while on maternity leave to fill a gap in representation in the greetings cards industry.
-Moyo by BiBi – founded by Bibi Ahmed, Moyo creates modernist accessories using traditional African beading methods that the designer describes as “wearable art”. Made in the UK and Kenya, each piece tells a different story through detail, colour and shape, and provides vital support to the women and mothers in a Kenyan village who are employed by Bibi to make the jewels.
Sustainability is at the core of the Untapped Creatives business, with all of the Black-owned brands under its umbrella placing it at the heart of their stories. Whether they are handcrafting the pieces themselves on a made-to-order basis or in small batch runs to avoid wastage, employing artisans in the countries from which their crafts or materials originate or supporting African charities with their sales, it was a guiding principle for the founders.
“Our aim is to be a single uniting voice for black creative businesses,” explains Funmi, who, as an international finance lawyer born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents and married to an Irishman, embodies the Untapped Creatives brand. “With my professional background and as creative entrepreneurs ourselves, we know that Black-owned businesses have difficulties in accessing premium retailers, and premium retailers have difficulty accessing them. We realised that in being a conduit we could hopefully solve pain points for Black independent designers, amongst which are concerns about access, financing and long-term growth, as well as streamline the process for buying teams to discover new and dynamic brands”.
Scott continues, “With Untapped Creatives, we want to highlight the abundance of creativity within the Black community and find a viable and long-lasting economic solution to help Black businesses reach that next level.”
Through its partnership with Selfridges, Untapped Creatives hopes to prove that luxury is universal and is excited to introduce its impressive roster of innovative Black-owned businesses to the Selfridges customer.