ROCKFORD — A brand new style assortment, “Ingoma,” formally dropped this month.
Native artist Kelvin Candie mentioned The Excessive and Mighty celebrates his Malawi heritage and likewise is a love letter to Rockford.
“This model is for everyone,” he mentioned. “We needed one thing that was versatile sufficient that (anybody) may put on it, even your grandma.”
The Ingoma assortment is for women and men and contains clothes, skirts, observe pants, sweatshirts, crop tops and extra. Candie mentioned as he designed he additionally had plus-sized ladies in thoughts to be extra “inclusive.”
The artist-turned-fashion-designer, mentioned it’s all the time been his dream to personal a model. The Excessive and Mighty wasn’t his authentic creation, however the former proprietor, Mario Martinez, gave it to him as a present.
“Initially, I needed to collaborate with the proprietor, however over time our schedules conflicted and ultimately he mentioned, ‘You might be very keen about this venture; how about you simply personal it?’”
Candie acquired the model in 2019 however mentioned he took a while earlier than doing something with it. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that delayed the launch much more.
With the assistance of a youthful brother, Victor Kabwaibwai, the 2 got here up with a strong marketing strategy. Kabwaibwai graduated final yr from Illinois State College with levels in enterprise administration and accounting. He mentioned he brings the enterprise perspective to the desk, alongside together with his youthful information of traits for his era. There’s a 10-year age distinction between the brothers.
“My brother’s obtained an excellent style sense and I feel he is a method icon,” Candie mentioned. “He has a pulse on style.
“We bump heads at occasions, however I belief his opinion. I do know that he would not let me put out one thing mediocre only for the sake of the greenback.”
For Candie, the delivery of his 1-year-old son was the motivation he wanted to launch.
“A variety of issues modified once I had my son,” he mentioned. “It modified the best way I considered the whole lot. That’s when the inspiration actually grew roots within the sense that I used to be now not fascinated by me, however began fascinated by the longer term and what am I going to go away behind.
“I hope that if he sees me create one thing, it’ll instill work ethic and good morals in him.”
Candie has all the time dreamed of proudly owning his personal model. He mentioned it took a bit of convincing to deliver his brother on board as a enterprise associate, however they work effectively collectively.
“It was simply his imaginative and prescient,” Kabwaibwai mentioned. “It is one factor when any person says it, nevertheless it’s one other factor once you see it.
“When he talked to me initially, I used to be like, ‘Yeah, that is a good suggestion, however I used to be actually stunned when he referred to as me sooner or later and confirmed me just a few issues that he had finished. I used to be impressed together with his imaginative and prescient and mentioned, ‘Alright, let’s do that.’”
Presently, folks can buy objects from the gathering by means of their Instagram web page. The brothers shall be launching a web site quickly. Within the close to future, Kabwaibwai mentioned they may host popup occasions, first in Rockford and later in different cities like Chicago and Atlanta. In addition they plan to associate with different companies.
“This can be a Black-owned model, sure, however the garments are for everybody, Candie mentioned. “We do not need to develop too quick. The thought is to develop gradual, and proceed making restricted productions.”
A few of the work shall be featured in April at the Rockford Space Arts Council’s ArtScene occasion.