Day 18: Why African Fashion needs Fela’s originality

Day 18: Why African Fashion needs Fela’s originality

“If you call her a woman, African woman no go gree, she go say, she go say I be lady oh.” These are the lines of one of Fela Kuti’s hits titled “Lady.” I am  a die hard fan of Fela and his music. Although he passed away a long time ago, like other great legends in music (i.e Bob Marley, Michael Jackson etc), his music continues to live on past his death and it remains a great example of what being original entails. It is from this context that I suggest that for the future we want with African fashion, we have to be as original as Fela Kuti who managed to propel Afrobeat music to new heights. Continue reading

This beast called fashion with implications for African Fashion

This beast called fashion with implications for African Fashion

Have you seen the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” In it, Gaston, once wonderfully handsome and muscled, is made utterly ridiculous in the beginning as he examines himself in every mirror he passes. Beast in the end, wins beauty’s love not through his looks, but his gentle awkwardness, his eagerness to please her and his distaste for violence. This movie draws attention to how people’s values or behaviors or even appearance can be interpreted by others. It’s significance also lies in its ability to redefine the terms governing beauty. It is this redefinition that precisely will propel African Fashion forward to new heights. Continue reading

Day 16: Why African Fashion needs “Sparks” and “Flow”?”

Day 16: Why African Fashion needs “Sparks” and “Flow”?”

I recently read that engaging in satisfying and optimally challenging interest-driven activities i.e. “sparks,” can provide an enhanced sense of well-being and happiness. Furthermore, if you immerse yourself in an activity that you truly love, it will generate a range of positive experiences i.e. “flow” that can be so engrossing and exhilarating that it becomes its own reward, a vital source of happiness, and a driving force of achievement in life. Like our feature image, this “spark” described as a ‘passion for a self-identified interest, skill or capacity that metaphorically lights a fire in one’s life, providing energy, joy, purpose and direction’’ and “flow”characterized by “complete absorption in what one does and routinely finding deep enjoyment in the activity,” are what fashion from Africa desperately needs.

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Day 15: Curiosity and African Fashion.

Day 15: Curiosity and African Fashion.

Have you ever seen a toddler in action? They are constantly relentless in their urge to pick up something they see, to play with it, to touch and feel, to master it if you will. When things are difficult, they never give up. They may cry and cry or try to get the attention of an adult to help them out. No matter what, they simply do not give up until they have gotten what they want. This type of curiosity is the future we want with African Fashion. Continue reading

Day 14:Making African Fashion More Resilient

Day 14:Making African Fashion More Resilient

Happy International Women’s Day and here is to all the women out there, you days be memorable, your nights be pleasurable and your dreams be attainable always…

In honor of this grand day, my hope for the future of African Fashion is resilience.

Resilience, they say is when a person, a thing, or even an object defies the odds and show positive outcomes, despite enduring adversity. It is a measure of an individual’s strength and an end product of buffering processes that do not eliminate risks and stress in people’s lives, but allows individuals to deal with these challenges effectively. Being an African Fashion Brand isn’t easy. Sure, there are great success stories like Lisa Folawiyo of Nigeria being selected as the top 500 influencers of Fashion globally, or how Zuvaa marketplace is making African Fashion seem very accessible. The list though is not very long though . Which leads me to ask the following questions: how do African Fashion brands cope with adversity? Are there any protective factors that may mitigate the effects of these adversity? What, if any role, does the community, individuals, you, me, play in shaping resilient African fashion brands?

Granted, most African Fashion brands will fail numerous times before they become household names. In many cases, majority can’t scale, despite an impressive showing at the latest African Fashion Week in their home towns, and our people, myself included, just simply have a hard time patronizing some fashion brands, and it is  due to issues such as accessibility, clean tailoring etc. No approach you  take with African fashion will guarantee success, hence the need to explore why some, despite the numerous challenges they face, defy the odds as we know it. It is my hope that as we begin to build the future we want for African Fashion, we can would also explore the role resilience plays.

 

Day 13: Let me freely speak about African Fashion

Day 13: Let me freely speak about African Fashion

Let me freely speak about African Fashion Today,
Because chances are, no one, is speaking for us,
Not the mainstream media, be it the exclusive print ones you know, or the small scale media, be it the many blogs or sites you visit.
So let me freely speak about African Fashion Today,
Because chances are, no one is speaking to us,
By us, I am referring to daughters and even sons,
of that great continent that some have falsely  described as “the heart of darkness.”
Africa, the place I call home, is more than that,
And our fashion has no match, not in Paris or New York, Milan or London
African Fashion is as individual as it is collective with the plethora of aso-ebis you see worn by women and men, particularly those in Nigeria-my frame of reference. Continue reading

Day 12: Branding African Fashion in the age of social media

Day 12: Branding African Fashion in the age of social media

I firmly believe that African Fashion will succeed when more diligent efforts are made to break through in social media.This is because social media brings together communities that once were geographically isolated, whether you are in Maine or Cape Town, greatly increasing pace and intensity of collaboration. And branding will be the necessary technique needed to help our designers and writers and bloggers gain cultural relevance. To become a cultural brand will include promoting innovative ideas about fashion from Africa that goes beyond the norm. Also, with social media already becoming very saturated, it is equally important for African fashion brands to locate the cultural opportunity, event, place, time etc. that will matter for their brands. As they look for the perfect opportunity to champion “Made in Africa, I believe that significant attention must be paid to branding as it will enable African Fashion brands to standout as they lead and define the cultural relevance of fashion from Africa.

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