Homegrown Business: Alex Dingiria of Kali Works

Kali Works is a Pan-African fashion brand that centres on creating stunning and unique pieces utilizing African design and culture. We spoke to Alex Dingiria, Co-founder and Conceptualist of Kali Works to learn more.

Kali Works

What is your business called and what does it do?

Kali Works, we’re Canada’s premier Pan-African fashion brand. We focus on what we call ‘statement wear’, combining our bold individual styles with strong African design references to produce some exciting clothing and accessories.

What made you want to do this work?

We had a hard time finding African-style fashion that fit our tastes in Vancouver (also given the small size of the black/African population), so we started Kali Works to fill this gap for ourselves and for others like us in the same situation.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Bringing bold, forward-thinking style with an unmistakably African origin that is different from standard African print fabrics.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our typical client is a worldly individual. They are well-educated, earn a good income, love to travel and participate in diverse experiences. They come to us because they are always in search of a genuine, bespoke gift for themselves or for a loved one.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We sell our merchandise directly to consumers and we also work with corporate clients to provide them with customized merchandise.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

You can find us online at our website and at the gift store at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. Hopefully more stockists soon!

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

What makes Kali Works different/unique from other brands?

We are known for going to great lengths in collaborating with artists and makers all over Africa and in the diaspora to create diverse but genuine cultural products, each one having its own origin story. For example, we made kimonos inspired by the amazing cave art in Tsodilo Hills in Botswana. We worked with a Botswana manufacturer for the kimonos and a local creative crew to produce promotional images near the World Heritage site.

Kali Works

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part is definitely the creative side, coming up with new designs and concepts. The worst part is working with limited resources to actualize what we just came up with.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Why do designers hate bourbon? Cause it’s old-fashioned (terrible, I know, I just made it up)

Where can we follow you?

On Instagram and LinkedIn

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Several! Kula Foods and Mumgry for food, Mawogan Fashion and Hogans Alley Clothing for fashion. Calabash Bistro!



About Sabrina Greggain-Lord 34 Articles
My name is Sabrina Greggain-Lord and I am a Community Outreach worker for the Vancouver Guardian. I am passionate about writing and bringing recognition to those doing wonderful work within their communities.