Charmed Life

Hanifa is the Baltimore Fashion Brand You Need to Know About Right Now

From showing at New York Fashion Week to styling Lizzo and Kylie Jenner, Hanifa is on the rise.

By Rachel Hinch | September 10, 2019, 8:30 am

Charmed Life

Hanifa is the Baltimore Fashion Brand You Need to Know About Right Now

From showing at New York Fashion Week to styling Lizzo and Kylie Jenner, Hanifa is on the rise.

By Rachel Hinch | September 10, 2019, 8:30 am

Fashion week isn’t just for iconic luxury labels. In fact, it’s an opportunity for several young and emerging designers to hit the spotlight. For Baltimore-based designer Anifa Mvuemba—who runs a storefront on North Charles Street in Mt. Vernon—this is her time to shine. On September 9th, her womenswear brand Hanifa debuted its fall collection during New York Fashion Week.

Hand-picked among five other designers, Mvuemba was selected for the first run of Teen Vogue’s Generation Next, a mentorship initiative intended to bring young designers forward in the fashion industry. Receiving this news, Mvuemba redirected her fashion week plans. "We were planning a New York Fashion Week pop-up shop, but we were like, 'Just cancel it—this is so much better,'" she laughs. "It’s mind-boggling­—I’m still on cloud nine."

It all started with a simple post on Instagram. Seven years ago, Mvuemba was learning to sew, stitching together scraps of fabric to create a dress to wear on her 21st birthday. After that single post, friends were knocking on her door with requests for their own custom garments. With encouragement from her parents, she decided to create more clothing, and in 2012, she launched her first collection­.

Mvuembo's designs are known to be bright in color, adorned in details such as ruffles or fringe, and structured in silhouettes that hug curves in all of the right places. You may have spotted Hanifa without even knowing it. After launching the collection, the Instagram-based business landed in front of top celebrities. Lately, icons such as Kylie Jenner and Lizzo have been spotted wearing head-to-toe Hanifa.

"It started with Fantasia, and I was blown away," Mvuemba said. "And then it turned into celebrities personally reaching out via DM or email asking to purchase­…and just genuinely enjoying the brand, not for anything else­—that’s what I wanted and I’m so grateful."

Hanifa steps onto the scene with something new and relatable. As a woman of color with curves, designing for similar body types has been fundamental. Authenticity has always been key, and for Mvuemba, it’s what continues to drive her designs.

"Sometimes, I feel like I don’t know if [the fashion industry] sees me," she says. "I would love to be a voice for girls like me."

Meet The Author

Rachel Hinch is the associate style editor at Baltimore magazine, where she covers the latest and greatest of the city’s fashion, beauty, and wellness scenes.

You May Also Like

Arts District

New Homewood Exhibit Explores Ties Between 19th-Century Home Goods and the Environment

The exhibition examines 19th-century homeowners’ relationship to nature through various home items.

Arts & Culture

Rising Son

Baltimore's McCaul Lombardi is making a name for himself in Hollywood, but he'll never forget where he came from.

Arts District

Marin Alsop To Step Down from BSO

The announcement comes as the orchestra examines its future.

Arts District

Plein Air Painter Crystal Moll Finds Beauty on Baltimore Streets

Local artist celebrates 10-year anniversary of her gallery in Federal Hill.

Food & Drink

Making Space

Baby's on Fire finds its niche in Fells Point.

Arts District

With Emptying Venues, Local Music Community Faces Uncertainty

There are still ways to support local artists during the coronavirus outbreak.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Goucher College Unveils Roadside Marker Honoring Suffragette History: Descendants of women’s rights advocates recognized at special ceremony.

Maryland Hoops, and Everyone Else, Stomachs A Sudden End to Their Seasons: Plus, an update on Trey Mancini’s health and Joe Flacco shows for Marshal Yanda’s retirement party

How to Support Small Businesses Amid Pandemic Panic: As foot traffic slows due to coronavirus, owners worry about lasting impacts.

Local Boutiques Offer Deals and Online Shopping Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: Opening and closing updates from the retail scene.

John Waters Flexes Acting Muscles on 'Law & Order: SVU': The Baltimore icon will guest star on an episode of the NBC show later this month.