Kadri Zelani... A sprit and soul of Niger and Benin.
From the trenches of Niger and Benin, this young African creative never imagined his journey would one day lead him to the vastness of New York City. Kadri Zelani’s story is truly remarkably astonishing and up-lifting. From the “ black sheep of the family “ to one of west Africa’s own upcoming designers to watch, his undeniable courage, motivation to become something greater, passion for the art , and encouragements from a mogul American fashion designer like Dapper Dan lead him to embracing the art of designing. An art that secretly lived within his spirit - dormant , waiting for its grand awakening- to now be known as Maison Zelani . From a young age , Kadri zelani , was latently introduced to fashion through the likes of his grandmother. She would dress him in suits, amongst other fancy wears ; and when he’d cry , she’d joyfully sing to him, “Abdoul Kadri zelani , ya zelani , Abdoul Kadri zelani ...” to cheer him up . These unforgettable moments, and her inclination to always wanting to see her grandson well dressed, became the motivation behind maison “Zelani “ . The spirit and soul of his artistry . Like many immigrant stories, Kadri zelani built himself up from the bottom. He came to New York City not speaking the language and working multiple jobs to survive the hot summer and harsh winters . From dishwasher, to delivery, to cook ,he dove into photography; which took him to his first Fashion week experience. He was then solicited by a party promoter from his wondrous streets pictures ; and that , is when his life took an unexpected turn. Then known as Billi America, Kadri zelani began his journey in the world of the nightlife of NYC- which has had an influence in his designs . His love for drawing resurfaced in his darkest times ; and , after his first drawing on a jacket sold for 700 dollars, he realized that his passion was in front of him the entire time. It was in this moment that Zelani’s house was born. His background in selling women’s clothes and accessories with his mother and his adoration for the woman as a divine creation influenced his designs - from bags , to shoes , to extravagant red carpet dresses - kadri zelani is well on his way to be one of the most well- rounded and sought after designers of his birth land.