I am just a writer of a style report on African Fashion, but what if I was an African Fashion Buyer for a luxury store like Bergdoff Goodman in New York or Harvey Nichols in Riyadh or for a magazine like Vogue, what would I buy? The role of the African Fashion Buyer is one I think not many people have given any thought to because, well, simply put, African Fashion is till in its nascent stage. But what if there was an African Fashion Buyer, what would their role entail?If I were and African Fashion Buyer, I think I would honestly begin with an “open mind.” Here are my reasons why? While African Fashion is yet to be regarded as part of the trend-setters, I will look out for breakout fashion designers who are setting the tone for what African Fashion looks and feels like. One person that easily comes to mind is Nigeria’s own Maki Oh below.
What would attract me most to my role would be the opportunity to meet these designers, to have the chance to enter into their creative world of imagination, like the world of South Africa’s David Tlale.
I also like the fact that being an African Fashion Buyer would require a grip of several areas of expertise, such as understanding not only the local market and global trends, but must importantly, the characteristics of the African fashion customer themselves particularly their taste. Of course I would need support to flourish and dare to say succeed, but that’s where the big name stores and even fashion magazines, come into play. In presenting some of the most exciting African fashion to my customers, I would ensure that I absorb all the inspiration and ideas around these designers, but yet, distill the right aesthetic to potential customers. Honestly, I believe that the role of an African Fashion buyer is to be an ambassador to our designers, helping them translate their vision to any potential customer whether in Lagos or New York, and in the end help in making them successful. It is 2015, and excuse me, but where are the African Fashion Buyers?