The Manja Collection is a lifestyle brand that was founded out of Liberia, West Africa to showcase the essence of Liberian swag, arts and culture.
Manja stems from the Vai dialect of Liberia, meaning a chief or leader. For us, Manja represents Royalty. It was birthed out of our love for our Gola/Vai tribal roots, its connection to the Mende kingdom and the Liberian country cloth. The country cloth is a uniquely handwoven cotton textile crafted into gownlike or tunic ensembles, usually set aside for traditional ceremonial engagements. We've designed a fresh take on this handmade gem of a cloth into outerwear, along with select accessories and home decor. In doing so, we look forward to preserving and sharing the culture.
Production of Manja in Liberia and Africa is important to us as we believe our people should be empowered through the expansion of their skills while providing better lives for themselves, families and communities.
We believe a sense of royalty should remain a part of all of us every day. Our customers exude an indulged sense of exclusivity, refinement, and style. Their style is interwoven in their attiring and the way they live. The brand produces luxe touches in its apparel, home décor, accessories and gifts that are influenced by Liberian and other African culture.
Cofounders, Cathy Eastman + Emeka Obiamiwe
When fashion paths are crossed and aligned, purpose manifests. Cathy and Emeka were introduced to each other by way of a beautifully made country cloth trench coat. Wearing it with all the confidence, pride and swag, Emeka captured the attention of Cathy’s style eye. Standing mesmerized, she had to have that coat! They both quickly learned of their passion for reimagining the country cloth and African wears as well as bringing Liberia back to the forefront as trendsetters in fashion and arts. After months of establishing a friendship and vision of co-founding and designing a lifestyle brand, the Manja collection was born.
Originally from Liberia, West Africa, Cathy Eastman started her professional career as a scientist. Through her love for fashion and style she transitioned into a fashion professional working as a fashion and wardrobe stylist. Her styling journey led her to work in New York City for designers such as Donna Karan, Prada, Michael Kors, L’Wren Scott and more. With work featured in several publications, she has also styled for celebrities and as a personal stylist. Her brand Alvenmae provides creative direction and brand management services. Although currently working in corporate America, you can find her designing for Manja, styling people, spaces or things; or assisting up and coming brands with conceptualizing their ideas through brand management. She has admired and incorporated art and fashion since childhood through various mediums that included her personal style, poetry and music.
Emeka Emmanuel Obiamiwe’s background boasts of vast experience as a multimedia, communications, and events management professional. He also regularly serves as guest lecturer and motivational speaker nationally and internationally. One would experience that deep baritone voice as owner of Nubian 96.7FM, a trendy and savvy FM station based in Monrovia, Liberia.
Emeka’s love for the fashion industry began while in exile during the Liberian civil war when he started an apparel line named Royal Clothing. This line fused African fabric into urban clothing styles. In 2019, he was approached by a civil society advocate to promote the woven, locally, Liberian country cloth. His passion for fashion was ignited again and he decided to urbanize the traditional fabric into an outer coat. He knew he was on to something when he received stares and requests of origins of his coat worn at a conference in Rwanda. It was a hit! He returned to Liberia to further research the country cloth and commission weavers to produce unique patterns. Five coats were initially produced under the brand NuHippo.
Emeka has traveled intensively across the African continent and the United States. He loves watching movies, DJing, MC’ing, swimming and reading.
We strive to preserve Liberia’s leading place in fashion, style and arts through our cultural elements while creating jobs and country pride.
We look forward to not only creating and showcasing Liberian wears, but to open a credible Fashion & Arts institute that will properly educate, expose, train and provide resources to develop competitive professionals. Our end goal is to establish a renowned and vibrant fashion industry in Liberia.