Friday, November 24, 2006
African Fashion | An Introduction
African Fashion Competition
Here is a possible approach or concept in which young designers in Africa could be encouraged and given an opportunity to shine and become recognised.
Understandably Africa is not automatically considered as the Continent at the rock-face of fashion, some may even argue whether there is such a thing as African fashion. Africa is recognised more for famine than fashion yet there are a number of excellent African fashion designers that have made it in the West.
Whilst travelling throughout Africa I recognised that the people of Africa prefer clothes from the West. Initially, I thought this was because they wanted to emulate the moneyed West that was until I ventured into the local markets and heard the sellers. The issue was more on quality: First Quality, Second Quality and African Quality. The reason for the interest in Western clothes was that the cuts were better, more comfortable the cloth more durable, especially with the introduction of jean material and most importantly the thread was thicker with finer stitching and therefore lasted longer.
Africa has only recently had a taste of European and American designs it is now time to create African Fashion. There is plenty of untapped talent throughout Africa and a Fashion Competition needs to be created in order to find that talent. The materials are there in the market places all that is needed is a little recycling to make designer clothes that are inherently African designs.
Who are these Africa Fashion Designers?
This Competition should be spearheaded by the designers below:
Abdulmajid, Iman Iman | Somalia
Andrianomearisoa, Joël | Madagascar
Arthur, Beatrice | Ghana
Ayissi, Imane | Cameroon
Badian, Kouyaté Lamine Xuly Bët | Mali
Dieng Diakhaté, Diouma | Senegal
Dumas, Ly | Cameroon
Kane, Claire | Senegal
Krempin, Odette | Democratic Republic of Congo
Niane, Katoucha | Guinea
Nonterah Jr., Ben | Ghana
Sagoe, Deola | Nigeria
Saint Laurent, Yves | Algeria
Sidhamed, Seidnaly Alphadi | Niger
Sy, Oumou | Senegal
Tassi, Karim | Morocco
Way, Eric | South Africa
Wek, Alek | Sudan
Each designer has family and friends in their respective countries and are able to create a media campaign to drum up interest in this Competition. In return for this positive PR the designers will be rewarded with their fellow countrymen and women recognising them for their efforts and successes that they have achieved in the West and also increase sales throughtout the world.
The major problem in Africa is that people rarely recognise or even hear about the success stories outside their country and tend only to hear about the famous Americans and Europeans rather than their fellow countrymen/women. In regards to the Fashion Industry the clothes are targeted towards the rich, rather than the everyman therefore only a few have even heard of these designers. African countries need to start to celebrate their own but firstly they need to be told who they are.
Goals and Achievements:
· Gives opportunity for successful designers to find talent in Africa
· Empower the talented Africans to see the opportunities offered by Africans abroad and at home.
· Creates a fashion industry that is open to all.
· Puts African design at the forefront of Fashion.
· Creates jobs if manufacturing is to take place in Africa.
· Stretches the imagination of the possibilities of Africa.
· Gives a positive view of Africans home and abroad.
Quite simply it is an African Fashion Competition driven by the successful Africa designers throughout the world. The winners will be given an opportunity to display their works at the Paris or London or New York Fashion Week.
Stage 1. Initially approach the designers above with the Competition idea.
Stage 2. Encourage the Designer Group to create a PR/Media campaign in
their respective countries. Press/Radio and TV.
Stage 3. All entries most be sent to the design group in Africa, Europe or US.
Stage 4. Winners will be announced on local television and be given radio
Stage 5. The selection from each group will be sent as a formal African
Collection to Paris/London/New York along with the designer.
1. Ask the contestants to choose an item or items of clothing – for example Levi 501’s.
2. Find a materials that best depicts the country – for example in the case of Kenya that might be Massai beads, corey shells from the Indian ocean and bird feathers from that specific country.
3. Reposition the materials chosen and place onto the item chosen in whatever and come up with 3 different designs.
4. Send the designs into the host African Design Group.