“Your life is your message to the world so make sure it’s inspiring” Sandi Mabasa
One of the reason I fell in love with Africa is : the Fashion.
I can spend hours looking for the last tendencies, the newest creations or simply staring at a dress so amazed by the fact such a wonder actually exists in real life.
My absolute dream is to work for/with an African fashion designer. (Aisha Obuobi if you read me…)
Meanwhile I will try with this blog, at my humble level, to share with you my vision of African fashion and to introduce the Black fashion designers I like the most.
For about a decade we’ve seen emerging so many talented fashion designers from the continent and, for our greatest pleasure, they changed the face of the fashion industry.
Fashion weeks are created everywhere in Africa (Accra, Dakar, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Soweto…) and African fashion weeks come in addition to the traditional ones in the most fashion-leading cities in the world (Paris, New York, London, Berlin..)
It is a refreshing explosion of colours, patterns, forms, cuts and there are exceptional platforms where the most talented fashion designers from Africa and the diaspora can finally showcase their creations and share to the world the beauty and creativity of the long-time put aside continent.
Fashion is not only dictated by the western world standards anymore but also by the vibrant and colourful creations coming from the black continent.
More and more celebrities rely on African designer either for their personal wardrobe (like Alicia Keys, Lupita Nyong’o, Solange, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani and many more…) or for professional purpose like Beyonce who used the services of the Ghanaian fashion designer Aisha Obuobi designer of the brand Christie Brown on her “The Ms Carter Show” World Tour in 2014 for her dancers’ dresses.
Aware of this trend, Western fashion brands are showing an increasing interest in using African fabrics.
“Fashion is an excellent way to promote the creativity of Africa and to shape a different image of the continent that is not reduced to poverty and animals, but includes all diverse aspects of our life,” Auma Obama said in Berlin.
The sister of the soon-to-be former US president said it all. Fashion is a way to change the narrative about the continent and to show the world the unlimited potential and inspirations of its creators.
On the other hand, even if the visibility of their product is indubitably growing for African designers based in Africa or in Europe, they still have to face different challenges.
The interest for African creations may grow in the western countries, it is still problematic for African creators to find a viable market directly on the continent.
Along with productivity issues (African way of production can’t compete with giant like H&M…), high international competitiveness, theft of creations due to the difficulties to apply the concept of intellectual property in Africa where a lot of people know how to sew and copy well-known designers models, the industry experiences now the arrival of an ocean of designers making it difficult to stand out.
The African fashion stage seems nowadays to have so many actors playing thaton it that it is easy to get lost.
Some websites like Pagnifik (french) try to put some clarity by creating a repertoire classed by country, but it is still very incomplete.
A lot of effort and collaboration has to be put in place in order to fully exploit the increasing demand for an alternative to traditional fashion.
African fashion is undoubtedly on the rise however, there are still many obstacles to overcome and we can undeniably say that it is just the beginning.
And now for your viewing pleasure :