Kai Collective’s Gaia dress has become the item of summer 2020

Unless you’ve been actively staying off social media, there’s no way you would have missed Kai Collective’s super coveted Gaia dress. There hasn’t been this much buzz for a dress on the Internet since the black and blue/white and gold dress debacle (it was black and gold), and it’s certainly much easier for everyone to be on the same side about Gaia.

Almost overnight, Fisayo Longe’s 4-year old label, Kai Collective saw a meteoric rise during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, thanks to this April drop, and after being made in 3 different versions: the mini and the top, Gaia has made its way through the regular girl’s wishlist to the cover of ELLE’s September issue.

 

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With Gaia, Fisayo has definitely found her pièce de résistance. Made with a mesh fabric by another Nigerian, female-owned brand, Grapes Pattern, the Gaia dress immediately commands your attention. In its simplest form, it’s a colourful swirl of textures and patterns that is uniquely crafted for each wearer, as no two Gaia dresses look the same, and this was done in a bid to reduce waste of fabric and resources during the production process. It’s not only sustainable, but it is also the ultimate power move, with its ability to transform the wearer into that bitch by simply just exisiting.

Beyond the dress itself, the power rests in the community of women who have chosen to uplift a black-owned fashion brand and appreciate thoughtful and ethical business models. Fisayo herself recognises this and has promptly started a two Instagram hashtags #GaiaAtHome and #GirlsInGaia which were set up not only to encourage her growing community to take pictures in their colourful Gaia numbers, but also to raise money towards the sex and gender-based violence back home for her in Nigeria.

Her brand of inclusivity and community definitely seems to be paying off as the Gaia is now being worn by everyone from your favourite influencers such as Temi Otedola and Ebonee Davis to Youtubers like Jackie Aina, Patricia Bright, and The Oddity as well as many more beautiful women across the world.

The way the Gaia dress went on to become one of the most sought-out fashion items from the quarantine, is proof of the undeniable power of black people and most importantly black women, themselves. Only six months into the year, we’ve already gone through unprecedented seismic changes across a range of industries – and the fashion industry has not been exempt. After many years of erasing black designers and professionals in the fashion scene, we’re coming into times where the social reckoning is being televised and the people who have been marginalised and getting their due. During the quarantine, we’ve seen this from black female designers such as Mowalola and Hanifa, who have both shattered boundaries and achieved amazing feats.

Given that Kai Collective is big on its community and fostering the spirit of sisterhood, the brand has uniquely positioned itself in a safe space that ensures it continues to grab and pull our attention by utilising social media and establishing a loyal cult following– that apparently even Beyoncé herself may be a part of. Fisayo is no stranger to the power of social media and engaging with one’s audience as she herself started off as a fashion and travel blogger. This inadvertently allowed her to carve out her own niche on the internet and find her community which has stayed loyal to her as she entered the fashion world as a designer.

With more than 40% of black businesses reporting that the coronavirus has marginally affected their sales and business affairs, there’s no better time to continue giving our coins to black-owned, high-quality and sustainable brands, rather than consuming fast fashion. Black-owned brands such as Kai Collective have proven worthy of coins, and as a bonus, we get to see another black woman winning.

Here are some of our favourite Gaia looks.

 

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Featured image credits/Instagram: fisayolonge


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