Birimian (, the first operational investment company dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, announces two key strategic and exclusive partnerships. Firstly with Institut Français de la Mode, among the world’s leading fashion schools, based in Paris, and secondly with WSN (Who's Next, Première Classe, IMPACT, Traffic, Bijorhca), a prominent and strategic actor in the international fashion scene specializing in the exhibition and distribution of emerging and independent creative brands.

These two exclusive partnerships illustrate the willingness of all three stakeholders to be part of a long-term venture dedicated to the development of emerging African heritage brands.

Birimian and Institut Français de la Mode (“IFM”) announce the launch of IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa, an innovative acceleration program for emerging African heritage brands in the fashion, accessories, and jewelry sectors. Every year for ten months, the program, funded by Birimian, will support ten to fifteen emerging designers selected for their talent, originality, and potential by a creative committee of experts from the international creative scene.

Applications are open from Monday, June 28, to Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The emerging creative brands selected will be offered personalized support to help develop their business by a dedicated team of experts in the main areas that a creative company needs:

  • Defining and strengthening a brand platform
  • Strengthening the creative process
  • Targeting a relevant audience
  • Determining a consistent marketing strategy
  • Planning and organizing collections
  • Distribution strategy
  • Communication policy
  • Online presence and strategy
  • Financial management

As part of their participation to the program, brands will also benefit from funding and advisory services from Birimian.

This acceleration program will start and end with a Parisian experience that aims to immerse the selected brands in the fashion and creative capital of the world and give them unique and privileged access to the main stakeholders in this ecosystem.

The partnership formed between Birimian and WSN will increase the visibility of African brands and expand their opportunities for international distribution. For example, Birimian and WSN plan to organize events as part of the acceleration program launched with IFM alongside Paris Market Week and Paris Fashion Week, highlighting the brands and designers in the program.

The partnership focuses on several components:

  • Identifying emerging brands
  • Inviting the selected brands to participate in events organized by WSN that bring together major stakeholders in selective international distribution
  • Incubating and commercially developing the panel of brands supported by Birimian
  • Organizing events to promote African fashion and savoir-faire

These two partnerships will hence be geared at fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, distribution and expansion capacities, transforming designers into creative entrepreneurs and sustainable entreprises, in line with Birimian’s mission.

Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Chair and CEO of Birimian, commented, “The partnerships announced today meet the objectives we set for ourselves when we launched Birimian: first, to support and train the new African creative cohort by strengthening their skills and expertise to ensure their level of excellence and second, to accelerate their development by helping them integrate into the fashion ecosystem and the international creative scene. In this sense, the two partnerships announced today complement each other perfectly, serving the influence of the history, tradition, and savoir-faire of African heritage in the international creative scene.”

Xavier Romatet, Dean of Institut Français de la Mode, stated, “Through this accelerator, we will highlight Africa’s extraordinary creativity and exceptional talent thanks to an adapted and demanding capacity building program based on IFM’s best practices. For us, it’s about giving them the educational tools necessary for their growth alongside access to an ecosystem of professionals, experts, and stakeholders in the international creative scene.”

Frédéric Maus, CEO of WSN, added, “There is no doubt that the next wave of international fashion inspiration will come from Africa. This trend continues to assert itself, and our partnership with Birimian will allow us to actively monitor this exceptional pool of talent and creativity. We are eager to contribute to their international development in the largest distribution networks.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Birimian.

About Birimian:
The first operational investment platform dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, Birimian supports designers on the continent in their growth and international development over the long term. Birimian’s main objective is to accelerate the international emergence of African creators by positioning itself as their major partner in four main sectors: fashion, accessories, beauty&cosmetics, and gourmet.

Birimian is aimed at brands that carry the continent’s culture, tradition, history, and cultural heritage, magnificent in its diversity, in their DNA and identity, brands that adapt to modern and contemporary codes.

About Institut Français de la Mode :
Institut Français de la Mode is a higher education institution, a training center for apprentices, a provider of executive education, as well as a center of expertise for the textiles, fashion and luxury industries. It offers 16 educational programs at vocational, Bachelor, Master, Executive MBA and doctorate levels, which prepare students for all the professions in the fashion industry in the fields of management, design and craftsmanship.

Based in the heart of Paris on a new 9,000 m² campus, Institut Français de la Mode welcomes more than 1,000 students of some fifty nationalities - managers, designers, technicians, entrepreneurs - encouraging meetings, collaborations and cultural effervescence.

Institut Français de la Mode is a member of HESAM Université, of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). It is supported by the French Ministry of Economy. It is recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.

About WSN:
WSN Development has been organising professional fashion trade shows in Paris for professionals, especially brands and distributors.

WHO’S NEXT, in January and September, presents ready-to-wear, accessories, beauty and lifestyle alongside IMPACT that bring together initiatives promoting the sustainable transition, and TRAFFIC, the event dedicated to solutions and innovations for distributors and brands. During the Paris Fashion Week in March and October, PREMIERE CLASSE presents fashion accessories alongside a fine ready-to-wear selection.