It seems like almost once a week, there is another “hot new fashion label” presenting a new collection that will embody the African spirit. The staple material to use is always Ankara and they all believe that what they present is “the exciting, strong, eye-catching, beautiful pieces” that you have been missing. Most important, you will surely make a statement in their clothes, never mind if it includes a large obnoxious star in the middle (see this image below of yet another new collection, designer name withheld).
I can understand when fashion is your passion, and I know that there are the folks who live and breathe African Fashion for a living. But, is this thing called African Fashion not overcrowded? Do we need yet another designer that will promise to create clothes that allow your imagination to run wild when all you are really thinking is whether your own tailor can make this same exact style for you?
Personally, I feel that African Fashion is overcrowded and many of these new so called designers (old ones too in some cases) are making a lot of noise, instead of working to perfect their brand. In my humble opinion, there needs to be a Council of African Fashion Designers, one based on exclusivity, as fashion designing whether for Africans or Westerners is not for everyone. Membership should be by invitation only and it’s members should only consist of Africa’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers who are also talented in what they do. The Council will give more value to what African designers create and hopefully restrict everyone from calling themselves African Fashion Designers. Their mission, (and I am borrowing this from the Council of Fashion Designers in America), should be “to strengthen the influence and success of African Fashion Designers in the global economy.” I know I have lumped all African countries into one with this Council, but that’s because the strong and talented designers are very few and scattered all over the continent. They are the ones that need to come together, to work as one, so that African Fashion is no longer overcrowded.
Image: Yetunde Sarumi Instagram, Bellanaija