Avis Charles is a graduate of the London College of Fashion and apprenticed at Susan Small under chief designer Maureen Baker. Her Haute Couture clients have included the British Royal Family and many global celebrities. "
In 1995 Avis founded Avis Charles Associates (ACA), a strategic fashion consultancy which specialises in creative direction through to product development. In 2004, ACA developed an educational programme for design students in South Africa, along with vocational programmes for emerging designers. ACA also formulated strategies for the Africa Fashion International (AFI)’s bi-annual fashion weeks, which are now the largest and most successful fashion weeks on the continent. Avis’ interest in traditional crafts and cultural heritage has led her to create product development programmes for the IFC/World Bank, the British Council and the International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as consulting with academic institutions, corporations and NGOs. "
Avis has also sat on a number of private sector and Government Boards such as West London Working City Strategy Pathfinder and Dress & the African Diaspora Network, part of the University of the Arts London's Research Centre for Transitional Art+Identity+Network (TrAIN). She is a regular speaker at international conferences including the World Economic Forum, the Global Banking Alliance for Women and the ESSENCE Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit. In 2013, Avis was honoured as one of the WIE 50 – Women: Inspiration and Enterprise’s roll call of 50 of the UK’s most inspirational women in business and leadership.
Avis works tirelessly to lay the foundations and increase the opportunities for young people by working closely with the Princes Trust, as well as mentoring teenagers and young entrepreneurs. Avis is a dedicated supporter of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Women for Women International (WfWI). It is this relationship with WfWI which has led Avis once again to marry her passion for the development of fashion with her personal ethics and her support for women who strive daily in challenging environments around the world. Kivu – Avis’ own fashion and lifestyle brand actively supports the advancement of women in developing countries. Avis is committed to developing female design talent and enabling women artisans to reach their full economic potential. Most recently, Avis has mentored and supported female artisans from Ethiopia, India, Mongolia, Peru, Palestine and Papua New Guinea.