Member spotlight: Gravalot Afro-contemporary menswear label
Afro-contemporary menswear label, Gravalot, releases small-run collections that focus on storytelling and supporting local economies, with each range being inspired by and made in the same region.
Founders Onye Anuna and Prince Comrie launched Gravalot in 2014, following a desire to learn the fashion and textile industry inside out, and an aim to unlearn its unhealthy habits of mass production.
While the London-based brand’s visuals and contemporary video productions tell stories to connect with its audience, the primary ethos of the company is to work with local craft, keep production runs small and to use as few natural resources as possible. Gravalot regularly runs pre-orders on upcoming collections to gauge popularity, before heading to production.
“Working with local producers means they generally don’t do mass production, which works well for us,” says Onye. “As soon as we know that we have a small production run ahead of us, we’ll order around twice the amount of a pre-order. We’re happy to stop at that point as we don’t need to make more just because we may get more orders. Our aim is to keep the collections limited, and to keep them special. Our pieces never go on sale, are never thrown away or burned.”
The premise of Gravalot’s collections is to represent the area in which they’re made, with locations varying from collection to collection. Their 2020 drop, Beware of Natives, was inspired by and made in Nigeria.
Onye explains: “I had been in Nigeria for the past year and a half and for our most recent collection, everything was produced there. The materials were locally sourced, locally made and locally dyed. The collection was also produced locally to keep the circular economy inside the region it’s inspired by.”
The most recent collection launched at London Fashion Week in February, and the brand’s very first collection, ‘Late Harvest’, were manufactured in London, with London-based visuals and stories. For these ranges, the fabrics were sourced from mills and suppliers around the country, for example in Scotland for tartans and wools, and Birmingham and Leicester for cottons.
Gravalot is passionate about creating a circular economy and only uses materials from suppliers that have specific environmental certifications. In the collections, you will find primarily 100% natural fibres, from cottens, linens, silks and wools, with organic fibres to be used in future releases.
Onye also runs three projects alongside the brand. Sub-Saharan Stories is a platform with over 500 stories from around Africa in one space so people can read freely, while connecting back to the identity of Gravalot. The second project is Pleatt, a free online platform for small fashion studios to easily manage their product and supplier database, as well as create linesheets, and is central to Gravalot’s business and a number of other designers. The final project launching later this year, Tartanalist will be a website showcasing over 5,000 tartans on a contemporary platform that is fast and easy to use.
Follow Gravalot on Instagram: @gravalot
Gravalot is a UKFT member. Interested in becoming a UKFT member? Find out more about membership here.