Why African Fashion must adapt to stay relevant? When I thought of the title of this post, I was pleased, mostly because many would quickly suggest that I am right: African Fashion has to adapt so that it stays relevant for the likes of celebrities such as Beyonce. See image of her below and the collection that inspired her to see what i mean.
Anyways the more that I pondered over what to write, I realized that my first question needed a supplement so that it’s not the only message you receive from me, because a question, a perception that is stated alone, is not enough and may serve to do more harm than good. So I thought of something to go along with this question and honestly speaking, the truth is that African Fashion is Relevant. No need for adaptation, our clothes serve a meaningful purpose for our society or culture every single day. Just take a look at a church service on a Sunday morning in any African country or drive through a busy city like Lagos on a Saturday evening after a marriage ceremony and you will see why African Fashion is and will always remain relevant.
So the issue isn’t relevance, but accessibility. How can we enable African Fashion designers to sell their clothes the same way that other designer sells theirs in China or USA? Adaptation is not for African Fashion designers, it is mostly for us the consumers. What will enable us to adapt our sense of what is modern and/or trendy to the point where African Fashion’s relevance fits our idea of style? It will not happen with celebrities, they are after their careers and rightfully so. It will not happen when other entities tell you, yes you, the African designer that your clothes are relevant for my customers. This will only happen when we take pride in what we do, working day by day to make our clothes accessible so that we change the way people think about African Fashion now matter how small or even if two people or no-one likes this post after reading.
My writing about African Fashion in a critical way is to break the barriers of the past, it’s to turn the tide of what some suggest is relevant or not so relevant fashion. I do this mostly to ensure that they realize that African Fashion is and will always remain relevant, no need for adaptation.
Images: Reuel_Reuel Instagram