Emefa Kuadey Wins Bay Fashion Fund Award

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Bay is pleased to announce that Emefa Kuadey, designer and founder of israella KOBLA, has been selected as a recipient of The Bay’s Fashion Fund, an initiative designed to mentor and support emerging BIPOC designers in Canada. Kuadey received a $25,000 grant coupled with a three-year mentorship program designed to overcome some of the barriers new designers face when entering the competitive retail landscape.

Kuadey, British of Ghanaian origin, began his career as a civil engineer. In 2017, Kuadey left the engineering field to pursue his passion for design by enrolling at George Brown College. In 2019, she was invited to present her work at Vancouver Fashion Week. Following the success of VFW, Emefa released Isarella KOBLA’s first collection, Released from captivitythat same year.

The inspiration for the Toronto-based brand comes from a juxtaposition of the designer’s interests – fashion and engineering. Each collection is designed to transcend time, reinventing minimalism with an emphasis on innovative construction and quality finishing.

Emefa said, “As an African-born designer, it was important for me to redefine what an African-owned brand looks like and what clothing produced on the continent can look like in terms of quality and style. I am currently producing israella KOBLA in Toronto and aim to open a secondary production facility in Ghana. My vision is to evoke the same feeling that “Made in Italy” brings to people, with contemporary “Made in Ghana” fashion.

“There is so much creativity and ingenuity among fashion talent in Canada,” said Tyler Franch, Vice President and Fashion Director, The Bay. “Creating equity in the industry and nurturing this talent is extremely important. Canadian fashion is inspired, diverse and world-class, and we need to celebrate that.

The review and selection process was led by the Fashion Fund’s Advisory Board, comprised of some of the nation’s leading industrial and societal changemakers.


With a digital-first, purpose-driven lens, The Bay helps Canadians live their best lifestyle. The Bay operates thebay.com with Marketplace, one of Canada’s largest premium lifestyle digital platforms, with seamless connection to a network of 84 Hudson’s Bay stores. The Bay has earned a reputation for quality and style through an unparalleled assortment of products and categories including fashion, home, beauty, food concepts and more. Follow us on our social networks: Instagram, Facebook, TwitterICT Tac.

The Bay and Hudson’s Bay operate under the HBC portfolio of brands. Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s oldest company. Signature strips are a trademark of HBC.


CAFA was created to support and celebrate the Canadian fashion industry. Through the recognition and promotion of outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion, CAFA is dedicated to generating greater appreciation and a market for our artists in Canada and abroad and to supporting the economic development of the industry. Canadian Fashion. CAFA is committed to further developing and cultivating our local talent by creating mentorship and funding opportunities as well as establishing collaborative partnerships that strive to unite the fashion community and the various fashion initiatives that exist. Across the country. Additional information is available at www.cafawards.ca

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