Inés Mille & Marc Collines
Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa
Founded in Kigali in 2008 and currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, Mille Collines was born with the goal of producing locally designed and manufactured pieces that would not only influence the wearer’s day-to-day style, but also have a positive impact on the world. The brainchild of Antoinette Mukakalisa, a Rwandan seamstress, Inés Mille and Marc Collines, the brand takes its name from Rwanda’s poetic sobriquet ‘the land of the thousand hills’ and draws inspiration from the know-how and heritage of the African continent.
Mille Collines garments start life as intricate sketches by skilled workers from Rwanda and Kenya and are painstakingly developed in a months-long process into timeless items meant to be kept, cherished and passed on to loved ones. Combining a Nordic aesthetic with the boldness of African textile—from colorful kitenge to soft cotton to traditionally jacquard-woven fabrics—each product is conceived to tell a story and take us on a journey through the culture and history of the region.
At the core of the label lies the belief that the joy of creating is transferred into objects sewn with love and the richness of an atelier derives from the talent of the artisans that work in it. Built on the value of community, Mille Collines crafts ground-breaking, quality attire that is made to last, embodying their twin aims of encouraging more sustainable buying practices and bringing the Rwandan fashion market to the fore.
“In a world where differences are increasingly emphasized and where people are divided and separated,” Millie told Forbes Africa of the brand. “It seemed fitting to celebrate the rich beauty that comes from combining many different influences. We wanted to celebrate the fact that, despite parochial thinking in some quarters, the world is becoming more of a mélange every day.”
IFM-Birimian Accelerator Programme, Finalists, 2021/2022