A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE MINDS BEHIND “AFIMI”
Three young friends who live in Montreal and Ottawa started AFIMI. Kevin, Jennifer and Janece have all known each other for many years, and the idea of starting clothing line was born and groomed by applying with each of their own expertise to make the idea become reality. Even though they all have full-time jobs and many other projects which include everything from artists promotion, website design and the regular challenges of trying to live a semi-normal personal life the thought of starting AFIMI was too compelling to let slide.
Janisha: HOW WAS THE NAME “AFIMI” BORN
AFIMI: The name AFIMI was kind of a play off words. Many times within dancehall, the selector will ask the ladies, if it’s your clothes walk up to the middle of the dance floor or to the video light, this request often is followed by women walking towards the front of the dance while pointing to their clothes and saying “A FI MI” to tell everything that the clothes are theirs. Women can wear AFIMI with confidence to show everyone that this belongs to her, while enjoying the comfort and fashion conscience style that AFIMI holds.
Janisha: HOW LONG HAS “AFIMI” BEEN IN BUSINESS?
AFIMI: AFIMI was born only a few months ago, it was registered in January 2004. We are all proud of what AFIMI has accomplished within a short period of time; we have learned a lot about clothing design, distribution and the retail market.
Janisha: HAVE ANY DESIGNERS INSPIRIED “AFIMI”?
AFIMI: More than looking at other designers and trying to imitate what they are doing, we want to concentrate on classic, comfortable yet trendy pieces. Since AFIMI is still young, we don’t want to take on more than we can bear, or spread ourselves too thin. We want to take time and grow AFIMI, to make sure that we have a solid foundation. As they say slow and steady wins the race.
Janisha: WHERE DO YOU SEE “AFIMI” IN THE FUTURE?
AFIMI: We want to see AFIMI as a line that our supporters view as a competitive alternative to the well-known Urban Lines. We want AFIMI to be available in every state and the UK. Right now our focus is to increase our lines of distribution, particularly in the States; at the same time we are cautious because we don’t want to offer more than we have.
Janisha: WILL “AFIMI” INCLUDE OTHER PIECES BESIDES T-SHIRTS IN THE LINE?
AFIMI: Yes. T-shirts is just the beginning, we now have available a classy style of blouse that is more tailored to wear as semi-formal and perfectly suited for a going out with friends in the evening. In production is a mesh tank top, and a classic style of tank top, both of these pieces will be made available in about a weeks time.
Janisha: WHERE CAN “AFIMI” BE PURCHASED?
AFIMI: AFIMI can be purchased in multiple stores within Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal: Broadway, Platinum World, Harlem World, Ladiez First, Lengedz, Carlton’s Fashion, Lounge, Versatyle etc. Also you can purchase AFIMI online, as we are working on moving our line into the American market.
Janisha: WHAT WOULD MAKE A WOMAN PURCHASE “AFIMI” OVER ANY OTHER PRODUCT LINE IN A STORE?
AFIMI: AFIMI offers high quality, high comfort, and high style. AFIMI designs to accentuate women’s curves not to hide them. AFIMI is priced reasonably so not to break your budget. AFIMI is a statement, an extension of who you are, where you came from and where you are going.
Janisha: HOW HAS THE PUBLIC RESPONDED TO YOUR CLOTHING RELEASE EVENTS?
AFIMI: The response has been very positive, especially when people have a chance to see, feel and wear the clothes, it’s all been very receptive and welcoming to have a new line be successful right from the start.
Janisha: WITH CARIBBEAN CULTURE ON THE FRONTLINES IN MUSIC, DO YOU THINK THAT IT WILL HELP TO BRING EXPOSURE TO YOURSELVES AND OTHER CARIBBEAN DESIGNERS?
AFIMI: I think it will help, people from all over are responding to the colors, to the music, to the culture, and clothing is an extension of someone’s culture, so we hope that AFIMI will continue to gain more visibility as the love for the music continues to grow.
Janisha: WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN CLOTHING LINE?
AFIMI: Having a successful clothing line doesn’t happen over night, Louie Vutton line has been around for over 150 years, Pepe 30 some years, etc. It takes time and patience to build. You have to be in it for the long run, and you can’t be swayed when there are bumps along the road, you have to be ready for competition but see it as a means to make you stronger. There are a lot of things to consider, so we would encourage anyone interested to do their homework, save their pennies and then take it one step at a time.
The following interview was conducted by Jamaicans.com Fashion forum coordinator and writer Janisha Jones.