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TORONTO — The Bay is pleased to announce that Emefa Kuadey, designer and founder of israella KOBLA, has been selected as the recipient The Bay’s Fashion Fund, an initiative built to mentor and support emerging BIPOC designers in Canada. Kuadey has been awarded a $25,000 grant coupled with a three-year mentorship program designed to tackle some obstacles new designers face when entering the competitive retail landscape.
Kuadey, British born of Ghanaian descent began her career as a civil engineer. In 2017 Kuadey left the engineering field to pursue her passion for design, enrolling at George Brown College. In 2019 she was invited to showcase her work at Vancouver Fashion Week. Following the success of VFW, Emefa released isarella KOBLA’s debut collection, Freed from Captivity, that same year.
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Inspiration for the Toronto-based brand comes from a juxtaposition of the designer’s interests – fashion and engineering. Each collection is designed to transcend time, re-imagining minimalism with focus placed on innovative construction and quality finishing.
Said Emefa, “As a designer of African descent, it has been important for me to redefine what an Africa-owned brand looks like and what clothing produced on the continent can be like in terms of quality and style. I currently produce israella KOBLA in Toronto, and I have a goal of opening a secondary production facility in Ghana. My vision is to evoke the same feeling that “Made in Italy” brings to people, with “Made in Ghana” contemporary fashion.”
“There is so much creativity and ingenuity amongst the fashion talent in Canada,’ said Tyler Franch, VP and Fashion Director, The Bay. “It is incredibly important to create equity in the industry and nurture this talent. Canadian fashion is inspired, diverse and world-class, and we need to celebrate that.”
The review and selection process was led by the Fashion Fund’s advisory council, consisting of some of the country’s leading industry and societal change-makers.
ABOUT THE BAY
Through a digital-first, purpose-driven lens, The Bay helps Canadians live their best style of life. The Bay operates thebay.com featuring Marketplace, one of the largest premium life & style digital platforms in Canada, with a seamless connection to a network of 84 Hudson’s Bay stores. The Bay has established a reputation for quality and style through an unrivalled assortment of products and categories including fashion, home, beauty, food concepts and more. Follow us on our social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok.
The Bay and Hudson’s Bay operate under the HBC brand portfolio. Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s oldest company. The signature stripes are a registered trademark of HBC.
CAFA was created to support and celebrate the Canadian Fashion industry. Through the recognition and promotion of outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion, CAFA is dedicated to generating a stronger appreciation and market for our artists both in Canada and abroad and to support the economic development of the Canadian fashion industry. CAFA is committed to further developing and cultivating our homegrown talent by creating mentorship and financial opportunities as well as establishing collaborative partnerships that strive to unite the fashion community and the various, existing, fashion initiatives around the country. Additional information can be found at www.cafawards.ca
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