It used to be a cycle of going to school to acquire knowledge and then getting a white collar job afterwards.
A lot of people never gave a thought to acquiring skills or harnessing their innate talents to earn a living.
As time evolves, more people are beginning to discover that life has gone beyond the usual cycle of obtaining a certificate, hence people are beginning to put their skills to good use and with hard work, consistency, and creativity, it is paying off real good to most of them.
Aurora James may not be an everyday name but the 33-year-old has carved a niche for herself in the world of fashion entrepreneurship by projecting Africa to the world through her designs.
Gradually, her unique achievements in the fashion world have set her name to ring a bell to many especially the fashionistas each time it is mentioned.
She is one of rare fashion entrepreneurs who derive satisfaction in taking African values and culture to the world via her traditional footwear brand known as Brother Vellies.
Prior to founding Brother Vellies in 2013, Aurora had spent some years experimenting with designs and different artisans in Africa and later decided to take it to the next level by introducing her favourite traditional African footwear to the rest of the world.
Her goal was to preserve the shoe-making craft in Africa and at the same time, create new jobs for artisans in her workshops where authentic, modern-day desert boots, shoes, slippers and sandals are produced.
With time, she launched her first official collection in 2014 Spring, and as business boomed in South Africa, she decided to tap into other countries by expanding to Kenya and Morocco.
Brother Vellies is designed in Brooklyn, produced with local artists across Africa, and sold in over 25 stores from New York to Japan, including online.
In the spring of 2015, she partnered with the United Nations as part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, which helped her secure living wages and streamlined productions facilities for her artisans in Kenya.
Relatively unknown outside of Africa, the velskoen – pronounced “fell-skoon” and known colloquially as “vellies” – are actually the ancestor of the modern day desert boot.
At the workshop in South Africa, a small group of men and women assemble a few dozen pairs of shoes a day by hand, using techniques refined over multiple generations.
The workshop was established in 1963 and is an open space that welcomes artisans of all genders, sexual orientation, backgrounds and tribes.
Aurora now travels to Africa almost every month to liase with the local artisans, experience the diverse culture of the continent, and unearth new inspirations with the aim of taking her brand to the world.
Who says Africa isn’t on her road to global fame with the likes of Aurora in the picture?
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