My story is that of a generation, all children of immigrants.
If the setting was France, it was Africa that made my parents’ hearts beat. On creaking wooden floorboards, I dreamed of being the great Dahomay king. I crossed the Parisian cobblestones thinking of the hopes of my ancestors. Sartre said, “We are what we do with that which they gave to us.” Throughout my childhood, France and Africa were within me, battling like two powerful antagonists. I first had to resolve this conflict before I could construct my own self.
When I was twenty years old, I tried to find the answers in other people’s experiences.
Through books, I sought psychological enlightenment. Cheikh anta Diop nourished my visual appetite with “Negro Nations and Culture.” Frantz Fanon wakened the revolt within me with “The Wretched of the Earth.” And I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth from Rosa Amelia Plumelle-Uribe’s “White Ferocity.”
Slavery, colonialism, the fight for civil rights...when I was searching for myself, I’m not sure that I was ready for all of that. I followed and then abandoned religions, from Christianity to Islam. I had to symbolically throw out my Bible and then my Koran. Radicalized, committed, enraged, I turned back to my ancestral African roots. I went through this personal quest in a constant state of pain.
Nefer is the moment of peace, bringing together two identities, two worlds, now in the same form.
I became aware of my unique being. Working in a shop selling mobile phones, I decided to listen to my heart and follow my ardor for fashion. I worked during the day and studied at night. I executed my first creations in the Lanvin workshop, working as an assistant to the shop’s manager. It was an incredible period of learning, respecting the delicate traditions of the country in which I grew up. I then went to Smalto, always with the feeling that I wanted to one day express my own style. My origins blended with French haute couture in ways that deeply marked me. The ancestral energy of African fabrics and art combined with tailored elegance give Nefer its extraordinary originality.