Born and raised in Paris, French-Congolese Wardrobe Stylist Laëtitia Kandolo began her journey as a freelancer whilst attending prestigious Parisian fashion institute ESMOD to study Fashion Business. She started assisting high profile stylists such as B. Akerlund, Renelou Padora and Mel Ottenberg who were working for artists like Madonna, Kanye West and Rihanna.
Seeking for more meaningful multicultural opportunities, from 2011 onwards Kandolo has been styling editorials for French-Senegalese fashion media mogul Sarah Diouf’s own GHUBAR, a digital magazine curating the best of Northern Africa and Arabic fashion and art scene. The creative also worked with Congolese high profile artist Fally Ipupa on his 2017 album cover ‘Tokooos. While all of these experiences were vital for her career, Kandolo always felt that she was not pushing her abilities to its fullest potential. From the early beginnings, she always had one dream: launching her very own fashion label.
This dream became reality and she travelled to her home country DR Congo hoping to be inspired by her surroundings and seek for collaborations. Instead, she witnessed Congo’s youth that is full of energy and ambitions, but lacks the prosperity and resources to harvest their creativity. This motivated Kandolo to use her own resources and set up a workshop where creatives can learn from each other and exchange their knowledge.
In 2015, Kandolo’s love for her Congolese heritage, photography, travelling and music gave birth to her brand UCHAWI, meaning magic in Swahili. UCHAWI is a ‘Made in Congo’ brand that is inspired by her personal journey of self-discovery and has a light obsession for the colour pink, creating a dream world where the founder creates job opportunities and collaborates with local fashion students.
““I want to show this other Africa, shake up stereotypes. It's a story written by an African woman. We need more stories about us by us.”