I recently heard the other day that as a market, women represent a bigger economic opportunity than China and India combined. So why are African Fashion Designers doing such a poor job of serving them? African Fashion Designers have much to learn about selling to women. Nigeria alone, has about 86 million women that are so diverse with a variety of income levels and walks of life. It is also the only country where a woman can go from being a breadseller to fashion model all in a span of one week. Any African Fashion house would be wise to target women in Africa and beyond and fashion is the arena where women are more likely to spend their money, particularly if you make something that appeals to them. So I ask the question again, why are more African Fashion Designers not serving women well? Continue reading
An exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain, aims to show how a new generation of Africans are giving the world a fresh perspective on their continent. Making Africa brings together the work of 120 artists and designers. It includes
Fashion designer Chi Atanga is comfortable with an identity as a global African.
Based in Portugal and Cameroonian-British by background, he is currently in the U.S. looking for investment and sounding out potential markets. African-American communities are emerging consumers of music, movies and fashion from the continent, he says, and he hopes to ride the wave with a clothing brand that reflects his heritage.
For the time being, however, his Walls of Benin brand will be manufactured in Europe. His first line will be produced in Porto, Portugal, where he has access to a skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure and support from the European Union — all prerequisites for building a competitive fashion business which are still missing from most Sub-Saharan African markets.
“Personally I’m drawn to Cameroon and to West Africa,” Atanga says, “but private enterprise is difficult in Cameroon.” Continue reading
Most African fashion accessories are instantly forgettable. There are exceptions-like our African gele, no matter how you tie it on your head. Likewise, our African beaded jewelry, which are very relevant to any African woman especially during her wedding day, are prevalent now than at any other point in time in the history of African fashion. But why is the beaded jewelry an instant African fashion hit. Frankly, I would like to believe that the way it curves the neck of a woman is a prime reason for it’s success. Also, it’s colors, I am forever impressed by the colors of some of these beads, alongside rich, lush gemstones that help to make the neck of a woman glimmer. But colors aside, maybe it’s the fact that it’s all handmade. I can happily report that most beaded jewelry in Nigeria are handmade, one bead after the other. I want to believe that the tenacity and creativity of these beaded jewelry makers account to a large extent for the continued presence of many beaded jewelry and their evolving character. Continue reading
It is been a while since I wrote about African High Fashion Models. See in the past, at least once a week, I would write about the African models currently making waves in the global fashion industry. Why, because no one writes about them, not their lives, not their stories, heck not even their captivating photos on instagram. These women are black and beautiful and representing Africa to the fullest on runways and magazine editorials. They are sources of inspiration for that young girl in Sudan who aspires to walk the runways of Marc Jacob in New York one day, or that young boy in Nigeria who would love to be the star of Men’s Fashion Week and they are all black and beautiful and worthy of praises now and always hence this post. Continue reading
I am in love with Okapi. 100% of their bags are made and sourced in South Africa, making Okapi the first authentic African luxury brand. It was founded by South African painter Hanneli Rupert in 2008. She wanted to create a locally produced range of products that would combine exceptional quality and craftsmanship with an international yet uniquely African look and feel. Okapi is named after the elusive antelope otherwise know as the “African Unicorn.” Continue reading
All hail Akpos Okudu! I mean, if there was any fashion outing at the Lagos Fashion and Design week that stole my heart, it would be Akpos Okudu. Here is a designer whose collection thoroughly evoked the spirit of unconstrained elegance and a strong femininity. You know a designer has a hit on her hands when more than one woman on social media is uttering the same breathless line, “I want every single piece.” Akpos Okudu’s intense focus on the silhouette of any confident and beautiful woman made this a brilliant show. But it was the workmanship that made each piece oh so special—they were very obviously painstakingly cut, given the lightness of the fabric. But the finished product was an ethereal blush affair, the type that has people gushing “All hail Akpos Okudu” for raising the bar on fashion and style from an African perspective. Continue reading