Alliance targets African fashion sector

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Africa-focused fashion investor Birimian has received investment backing from asset management firm Trail, to allow it to scale up.

The alliance between Paris-based Trail and Mauritius-registered Birimian was announced earlier in April. Trail has invested in the vehicle through which Birmian backs the development and capacity of African brands, while the fashion-focused business will have representation in Trail’s Paris office.

By the end of 2022 an investment company will be set up under the name Birimian X Trail, to invest EUR 5 million per year in brands.

The alliance “represents a key milestone for Birimian within a year of our launch”, said Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Birimian founder and executive chair. “Partnering with Trail strengthens the credibility of our approach, our business model, brand development and investment strategy in the African fashion and creative scene.”

The aim of the alliance is improved access to finance and operational assistance for the brands which Birimian supports. It invests in fashion businesses that build on and promote African heritage. The company’s investments include Ghanaian fashion house Christie Brown, Ivory Coast-based designer Loza Maléombho and fashion brands Simone & Elise and Kente Gentlemen, Rwandan business mille collines, and South African brand MMUSO MAXWELL.

Trail, meanwhile, has worked with French fashion agency Mazarine, jewellery brand APM Monaco and haircare giant Wella.

Trail Capital managing partner Xavier Marin added: “It is a new venture for Trail, one that holds tremendous promises, considering the huge potential we see in African heritage brands, and more generally in the African continent as a new investment frontier.”

Birimian was advised by Africa-focused law firm Asafo & Co, with a team led by transactional partner Noro-Lanto Ravisy. The firm advised Birimian on the 2021 launch of its fund.

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