I know, I said it and I will say it again “African Fashion has no writers.” If you don’t believe, quickly count to three the top African Fashion writers you know who critically write about anything that pertains to fashion and style from Africa. One, I am waiting! Two, still waiting! Three! I am sure you would see why today’s post is as relevant as ever. If we are going to start claiming the type of future we want we African Fashion, then we must first write it down plainly for others to understand for example, just what do we mean when we say the word “African Fashion.” To me, it an expression or way of being which emanates from my roots in Nigeria. Fashion to me from Africa has everything to do with the way we define ourselves in relation to others. I am Nigerian by birth and till this day, what I wear or describe as African Fashion is a function of my origin in a place that I call home. Yes, it has to do with colors, yes it has to do with form and texture, be it modern like playful one-piece suits in colorful ankara materials, or vintage, like that old aso-oke from the bottom of your mothers iron suitcase that can be used as a headgear, describe it as you will. But most of all, know that African Fashion is a vibrant way of life, with a sense of style that is bound to nourish all five senses. Phew, it wasn’t so hard was it.
There is no need to belabor this point. Readers of magazine or blog know that writing is an important requisite for promoting any important information or opinion or idea about anything that has to do with fashion, even if it is a lame idea, like “Who wore it best?” To write about African Fashion is also the most troublesome as there are simply no writers of even lame ideas whether they make sense or not. To me, writing about African Fashion is as essential as the next big campaign to create a sustainable source of income for African women.
For starters, whatever you write, be it a blog post or a simple letter to an editor stays “on the record” and cannot be underdone. It becomes a living, breathing statement or opinion which counts towards the future we want with African Fashion, kind of like my 100 posts goal with this being the 4th day (shameful plug duly noted). In today’s fast-paced business of fashion, the next big ideas with African Fashion will not be promoted exclusively by word of mouth, I don’t care who or what your brand stands for. Someone must write up the eventual analysis of that which is defined as African Fashion or fashion from Africa, whether you value their opinions or not. The ability to write is a highly valued asset that is sorely lacking with African Fashion. But it is my hope that I live to change that one post at a time in the next 96 days. We don’t all have to write opinions, we can also write fictions, like the feature image of the book “Venus of Khala-Kanti” written by one of my favorite writers Angele Kingue. Africa has writers, just not fashion writers.