The Bay reveals Emefa Kuadey as Fashion Fund winner
The Bay announced on Saturday that Emefa Kuadey, designer and founder of Israella Kobla, has been selected as the recipient The Bay’s Fashion Fund.
The initiative, designed to mentor and support emerging BIPOC designers in Canada, means Kuadey will receive a $25,000 grant coupled with a three-year mentorship program, as part of her win.
“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.”
British born of Ghanaian descent began, Kuadey began her career as a civil engineer. In 2017, she left the engineering field to pursue design, enrolling at George Brown College. In 2019, she was invited to showcase her work at Vancouver Fashion Week, before releasing Israella Kobla’s debut collection, ‘Freed from Captivity’, that same year.
The Toronto-based brand takes inspiration from the designer’s interests – fashion and engineering. The brand’s collections are “designed to transcend time, re-imagining minimalism with focus placed on innovative construction and quality finishing,” according to a press release.
“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,” said Kuadey.
“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.”
The Bay’s Fashion Fund review and selection process was led by the initiative’s advisory council, consisting of some of the country’s leading industry and societal change-makers.