April | Spotlight On

These sustainable dresses by Anyango Mpinga are irresistibly bold

Journalist-turned-designer Anyango Mpinga on her vibrant eponymous label

Emma Sells

If ever there was a dress to lure you out of your much-worn loungewear and elasticated waistbands, then one of the beautifully feminine, irresistibly bold creations from Kenyan designer Anyango Mpinga might just do the trick. Look past the romantic flourishes and you’ll see they have their roots in easy androgyny; Mpinga starts every collection riffing on a white shirt and everything else – from the bohemian shapes and Victoriana details to the vibrant, colourful prints – evolves from there. “I’m African in terms of my influences,” says Mpinga. “I’m a storyteller and I use my textiles as a way to tell my story and connect people to my culture in a way that is modern.”⁠


A former journalist and scriptwriter, Mpinga started out designing clothes for herself, first taking thrift-store finds to her tailor to have them altered and adjusted, then making things from scratch that were so desirable that her friends started putting orders in. She started the label formally in 2015 with social and environmental responsibility built in; her size-inclusive collections are made from organic or upcycled fabrics and non-toxic dyes and she runs a non-profit, Free As A Human, alongside the label, supporting female survivors of trafficking and modern slavery. “At the end of the day you want to make a sustainable dress, but it has to be a sustainable dress that people want to wear, otherwise what’s the point?” she says. “People care about sustainability but they want to spend money on something that’s quality, something that’s aesthetically pleasing and that lasts.”⁠


Artwork: Gus & Stella

Journalist-turned-designer Anyango Mpinga on her vibrant eponymous label selling sustainable dresses that are irresistibly bold. Black evening dress. Bright orange background.

Artwork by Gus and Stella