Custom-Made African Fashion At Bloomingdales: We can only dream

I love to dream so allow me to dream today as if Isioma’s Style Report will live forever. This dream is a good one and it’s about custom-made African Fashion at a retail store near you, preferable Bloomingdales or any other luxury retail store that is willing to have us. It’s not impossible, since most Africans I know already wear custom-made clothes from the tailor next door. Shoot I already have one or two tailors, virtually unknown who would be perfect for this job. You see Africa and Africans have their own unique sense of style, far from the prints our fashion is mostly know for. We are the kingmakers of custom-made and I think in the next couple of years, it’s imperative that we become the leaders of custom-made much in the same fashion that Capritouch Sandals are doing for Bloomingdales (read here), pushing the idea of custom-made for the West and doing it lucratively. Take Capritouch Sandals (culled from Footwear News):

“Last Summer, former Bergdorf Goodman footwear DMM-turned-consultant Sally Ross had an idea. “I wanted to bring the spirit — and sandals — of Capri to New York City,” she says. The result was a partnership with Capritouch, a local sandalmaker on the Italian island owned by the Capri Palace luxury hotel. Ross brought two of their local female cobblers to hand-make pairs on the designer-shoe floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship.” “I knew it was a great concept that people would love, but it surpassed all expectations. We made over 1,100 pairs at a retail of $320,” she said of the concept, which offers three lasts ranging from pancake flat to block heel, and a bounty of color, embellishment and strap styles, with prices starting at $145 and up to $645. Most of the looks are made on the spot in just 15 minutes. The shop just opened again for the season and is already busy.

What I love about this concept is it’s simplicity and need to foster sustainable development for local sandalmakers in the Island of Capri. Can we do the same for Africa’s Fashion?
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Take one or two of our own, maybe our tailors or even tie and dye artists, give them a space and watch them thrive before our very own eyes. How will this happen?  Building on my previous post on sustainable interventions for Africa (read here). The tie and dye artist can make the fabric in the prints you desire from scratch, while the tailor would make the outfit of your own making or choose from a set of 4 styles we have in place for the sake of simplicity. See my own example above and below and of course, I choose a floor-length, Adire (tie and dye) Rainbow Colored Dress, with it’s light and flowy kind of feel, perfectly tailored to my style, with matching hair piece and sandals to complete the look. See the before and after custom-made pieces below.
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Summer would be the perfect season for this and I know this idea is bound to be phenomenal if organized well. Africa’s fashion lives and breathes custom-made in all it’s glory and luxurious designs too if channeled properly. I know that I am dreaming, but this dream of mine for custom-made African Fashion at a luxury retail store near you is one that I hope will come to pass soon enough. I know people with expert skills (not those who put their names on labels for fame) in case anyone is interested. If Africa’s Fashion was to go this route (among others of course), I guarantee that we will finally elevate the quality of our fashion with refined details that are standout and worthy of praises.

Source: Footwear News
Images: Isioma of Isioma Style Report for Morning Star Humanitarian Services

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