Ekantik is a Tanzanian streetwear label founded by Anjali Borkhataria. The brand’s modern interpretation of exaggerated utility and oversized silhouettes offers a unique gender neutral feel, and their goal is to design meaningful pieces that impact the world through a focus on sustainability and waste minimization. Inspired by workwear—particularly workwear donned by blue collar laborers—Ekantik’s luxe take on the streetwear aesthetic embraces both oversized and slimmer fits, and there’s an immense ease of wear to the pieces: matching sets, casual button-downs, and dungarees feature frequently, while oversized parkas and cargo-style trousers amp up the comfort and cool level. Meanwhile, unexpected touches of glitter and denim also come out to play, serving as a reminder that though athleisure must be comfortable, it need not be boring.
“Life happens on the streets,” Borkhataria told Forbes Africa. “The streets influence me more than anything. So, I try to imply that into my design.”
Borkhataria prioritizes sustainability by investing her time into thoughtfully selecting materials. She chooses to work with the highest quality natural fabrics including wool and cotton to ensure her designs have a lengthy lifespan. In addition to this, she avoids working with harmful chemicals when it comes to the artisanal dyeing of the materials, instead utilizing natural extracts from plants and handcrafting all products locally. Only limited quantities are produced, as according to Borkhataria, exclusivity is key to minimizing the waste.
Borkhataria won Innovative Designer of the Year Swahili Fashion Week in 2020 and her brand has been worn by celebrities across the region and the African continent including Kenyan musician Tanasha Donna, Tanzanian celebrity Romy Jons and singer Mbosso. Ekantik pieces have also appeared in a music video by popular Tanzanian singer Diamond Platnumz, featuring Congolese singer Koffi Olomide.
Besides her work on Ekantik, Borkhataria also lends her skills to Asantii, a Rwandan-born, global African fashion brand. One of 14 talents from across Africa who contribute designs for the label, she provides fresh inspirations from her country’s craft and textile traditions, cultural histories, and natural landscapes to inform their seasonal collections.
- Swahili Fashion Week, Innovative Designer of the Year, 2020 & 2021