The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.

Racha is a banker turned fashion designer based in Paris. From Djibouti, she previously studied at Ottawa University and the Panthéon-Assas University. After working in finance, for six years, Racha is pursuing a career in fashion and is currently studying fashion design at ESMOD Paris. She showed her most recent collection at Black Fashion Week Paris this December.

How did you start out in the fashion industry?

I started out in 2013. I used to work in the finance and banking world and study international relations. I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion but I still chose to work in finance to be more secure. I managed to continue my fashion projects on the side and eventually decided to go for it. I felt like I needed to have a certain legitimacy… I obviously lacked the experience so I put myself through fashion school. This is my first collection and I am very excited to present it to the world.

What is your latest collection about?

As a woman who has worked in the banking world I have always been appalled by our lack of choice in suits. I often find myself picking items from different brands and matching them together – or at least trying to! It’s much easier for men!

It feels like a time when women were able to be free, ambitious and become more independent.

My first collection is inspired by a quote from Freud, ‘You can’t separate female from male’. It definitely draws from the 1920s. It feels like a time when women were able to be free, ambitious and become more independent. I’ve created a fusion of men and womenswear of that time. The reason why there is not much of an African touch to this collection is because I wanted to send out a message that African designers are able to do something universal.

Who’s your African of the year?

If I had to choose my African of the year, it would probably be Pierre Rabhi. He is an environmentalist who always strikes me with his ease to translate a messy situation, such as climate change, into a simple message.

Follow Racha on Instagram @fromfinancetofashion

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