Rayana Edwards fuses culture and clothing to empower women through her business Harem Clothing and her project Sari for Change. Harem Clothing focuses on creating the modern modest dressing for women of all ages. Sari for Change trains unemployed women to reproduce new garments from donated saris. Upon completion of the Sari for Change training, the women are encouraged to launch their own businesses. They also continue to receive mentorship and have the opportunity to partner with Harem Clothing. Through both endeavors, Rayana not only dresses women but creates employment opportunities for them.
Championing job creation in developing markets for the unemployed and marginalized is a mission, sales, and marketing guru Rayana Edwards is determined to offer in an economy that seldom allows for equal participation by the creators and owners of the production chain in the fashion industry
A passionate and active member of various women groups and organizations Rayana believes that the world is being run by women on a sub-conscious level and her mantra is “a fusion of women creating new influences through a collective creative expression.
With earlier businesses in Cape Town, Nairobi and Johannesburg where she has worked largely in property development Rayana embraced her love for fashion and clothing by opening her first ladies boutique Cape Connections when she lived in Nairobi. The high-end boutique catered for movers and shakers, politicians, president’s wives, and largely expat communities.
Sourcing and buying for her boutique saw her cross many an ocean and to the most exotic destinations in and around Africa and the rest of the world and offered her insight to a passion and love with art, design, and beauty in the imperfections of African craft.
Rayana’s developmental started with her introducing artists to mainstream businesses and she instinctively knew her purpose of honing in on the talents and gifts from women that could work their craft and handwork from all parts of the world allowed her life purpose to be realized
Her overwhelming passion for Africa consumed Edwards and it’s what drove her mission to seek to develop the continent that was the catalyst for Rayana that defined her business positioning.
After relocating to Johannesburg from Nairobi, where she dabbled in the corporate market Rayana took the plunge by filling in the gap of merging the informal sector of craft and indigenous handcraft from Africa to mainstream business
With her first imports sandals from Kenya, Rayana knew she was in the right market when she struck a deal with leading fashion house Sun Goddess who bought the range for their participation in SA Fashion Week.