Waridi Schrobsdorff is an incredibly interesting woman, with an eventful life and a vision. Just last week she unveiled her latest project “’MTINDO Rebranding Africa’“ in Berlin vorgestellt. Mtindo means style and movement in Swahili and in the exhibition, that runs until November 7th at Volker Diehl gallery, fantastic photographs from the book MTINDO are presented. Inside this coffee table book one finds unique images of a new generation of artists, designers and creatives, that put the "future" of Africa into a complete new dimension.
We talked to Waridi a couple of weeks ago and want to give you a little peak into the life and work of this wonderful woman.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your years as a model from Africa and your way to becoming the wonderful and inspiring woman that you are today.
My years as a model from Africa were exciting and risky. In an industry with very fast fabulous clothes but untouchable spaces, I have learned a lot over the years. The last 24 years that I spend in the fashion world gave me a sense of what is missing. So I basically used my creative instincts to implement ideas that fit in the industry and which make a difference or give a thought.
What was the biggest challenge that you had to face?
As I come from a Muslim background, it was to leave my home and become a model.
When did you decide to give African designers and projects a lobby in Germany and beyond?
In 2013 I decided to found my company “Fashion Africa 254” for African fashion and with “Rebranding Africa” I was aiming to rebrand African fashion with creating projects that bridge Germany and Africa by communicating with fashion of both worlds.
What was your reason to initiate the „African Designers for Tomorrow“ award and how did you manage to gain the support of big companies like eBay and Urbanara?
Basically African designers need to understand how things work in the fashion industry internationally and as a whole. With the award I saw an opportunity to bring designers together and exchange knowledge with German platforms as well as to appreciate each other’s work. The idea is brilliant and that is why these companies loved what we were aiming to do with “Rebranding Africa”.
What do you love about being a woman?
We are a puzzle and it is amazing to always discover oneself and we can change things, because we are the mothers and the source.
What advice did you get, that you like to pass on?
Nothing is impossible.
With your company FA254 you aim to bring African luxury products to Germany and Europe. How do you select the people and brands to work with and does the European taste play a role in your selection process?
For sure European taste plays a role but again you cannot and should not change the designers USP to fit the market. Their quality, price and professionalism to work internationally are the key points that I am looking for when making the selection.
What is the biggest challenge?
The craftsmen in Africa are incredibly talented, but their skills need to be defined and they also face the challenge of having enough materials and delivering the right quality within the given timeframe.
How would you describe your style and does it involve jewelry?
I don´t really have a definition of my style, I try not to dress what is expected. And I love jewelry, for me it´s the icing on the cake.
Do you have a VIERI favorite?
Will you tell us about your favorite shops, restaurant, cafés or places where you find inspiration and where you feel comfortable?
Soho House & The Store, the Schwarze Café and the Murkudis concept store at Potsdamer Straße. And I frequent a lot of no name restaurants around down :)
Thank you for the interview dear Waridi & good luck with your project! By the way: Waridi wears our “Respect the Love necklace’“ and was photographed by the wonderful and talented “’Jules Villbrandt’“ in Berlin.