The latest fashion trends continue to incorporate more and more Afrocentric themes and at Dakar Fashion Week hosted in Senegal, this trend became even more evident.
Adama Paris, organizer of the event and former model, created the event nine years ago despite no government support and massive challenges. She says, “I really think that there is a market, there is an audience. People love fashion in Africa, they buy it. I don’t know why it isn’t structured. I sell, people sell, but we don’t have distribution channels so everybody just sells where we can,”
African prints are currently inspiring big names such as Burberry, with the iconic British brand’s 2012 collection shot through with bright printed batik material. Even singer and designer Gwen Stefani adopted the theme in 2011. Malian designer Maria Bakhoum’s collection was in earthy tones with the traditional Bogolan mudcloth while Equatorial Guinea’s Alfredo Monsuy mixed satin and silk with traditional wax prints.
However, many designers feel that the biggest challenge is getting Africans to buy local, with European designers and brand names still the most coveted, especially since many African designers do not have outlets that designers in Europe or the United States have to show off their collections.“Right now it is the time of African fashion and fabric,” says Paris. “It is colorful and it’s something different. We want to show a different Africa, not just war and death that the west shows, but a bit of glamour.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Finbarr O’Reilly