Wedding bells sounded at Salamander Resort in Middleburg on Sunday when DC-based designer Anifa Mvuemba debuted her highly anticipated Hanifa bridal collection. Mvuemba is herself a bride-to-be, and her collection includes a full range of bridalwear, including suits, two-piece wedding gowns, and styles that incorporate distinctive Hanifa details such as fringes and corset tops.
“I have been talking about bridal since I started in Hanifa,” says Mvuemba, who launched her line in 2011. “We officially started creating pieces three years ago. So much passion went into this experience. It’s not just one type of bride; we have different sizes, shapes, and complexions.”
The unveiling event resembled a wedding. A runway show (the metaphorical ceremony) was preceded by a cocktail hour, then followed by a reception. Besides wedding planners and brides-to-be, the audience included journalists and influencers as well as reality TV personalities like Karen Huger and Charrisse Jackson of Real Housewives of Potomac, and Lauren Speed Hamilton of Love Is Blind.
One guest, Elizabeth Fadoju—a Hanifa customer for years—was on the lookout for a dress for her upcoming wedding. “I like that I can picture myself in the designs for different events,” she said. “[And] when you find designers that are so intentional, it gets you excited. If you are going to spend your money towards something, it feels good to go towards a Black woman who is really committed to those ideas.”
The designer lives by the phrase “do with intent,” and says it took 12 years of Hanifa to reach this stage. She credits her faith with helping her persevere: “I never shy away from talking about my beliefs in Christ. Even the journey of Christianity is not a straight path . . . when creating this line, we met roadblocks [like] you would face as a believer; you go through that journey, and it was really important for me to mention that because my team shed tears just to create a line full of astonishing gowns.”
Mvuemba’s goal for the ready-to-wear collection is to offer the dresses in stores—specific locations and the line’s release date haven’t yet been announced—and someday to open Hanifa bridal boutiques.