Holt Renfrew’s H Project Launches it’s Uncrate Africa collection in Vancouver

By Dominique Hanke
Photos courtesy of Holt Renfrew

Uncrate India 2015

Last Thursday night, Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew celebrated the launch of its second annual ‘uncrate a culture’ capsule collection.

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This season, the team travelled to Africa to seek out designers, artisans and create collaborations with African craftspeople. Their goal was to bring them to the Canadian market, not just to share their regional craft and culture, but also to share their stories. This stays true to their mission to “curate a capsule of extraordinary products with extraordinary stories”.

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When I spoke to Alexandra Weston, Holt Renfrew’s Director of Brand Strategy, I asked her what story stuck out in her mind. She told me of her journey getting the project off the ground. “I pitched (the idea) to our president and I said ‘I envision 400 square feet of your highest traffic space, and it may or may not make any profit, but it’s going to do so much good that that doesn’t matter’, and he looked at me for a second and he said ‘I believe in you, go for it'”. Soon she was off with her team travelling through India, sourcing product for last year’s inaugural collection, Uncrate India.

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This year, Weston has carefully curated the capsule focusing on high quality African design, and also has brought in “the unexpected” with the hope of challenging people’s perception of what African craft is.

2The capsule brings in world-renowned designers who work in Africa, including DANNIJO, Stella Jean, Lem Lem’s Liya Kebede, Westward Leaning, Brother Vellies and Me to We. The exclusive collaboration with New York-based jewellery brand DANNIJO brought the team to Kigali, Rwanda where they discovered the incredible artisans and traditional techniques of the region. Weston and her team explored Africa, travelling to Rwanda, Kenya and the Massai Mara, meeting artisans and sourcing exquisitely crafted items along the way. From hand-woven baskets to bold textiles and beaded jewellery, there was an abundance of beautiful pieces to choose from.
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This incredible collection is definitely worth checking out. You will find it already popped up at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street, Yorkdale, Calgary and Vancouver locations. So take home your own little bit of Africa and support this amazing project.

Check out the video below about H Project’s Uncrate Africa:

Thank you to the team of Holt Renfrew not only for the invite, but for all the initiatives they take to make the world a better place.

Uncrate India 2015
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