Versace, Gucci, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, all international non-African brands that Africans endorse, embrace and are quick to spend on. Having any of these branded items in your wardrobe is like a status symbol in Africa meanwhile we neglect the indigenous made in Africa brand which are also of good quality and are trying to break into the fashion industry..
Funny thing is doing a deep research into the sourcing for production of these high end luxury brands, it would be shocking to learn that they come to Africa to get leather for bags and shoes and jewels for accessories and even down to labour for production, only to brand it western and have Africans desperately trying to afford them . Why don’t Africans accept African fashion from their indigenous designers? Why is it a big deal to own Gucci loafers or buy big westernized brands even if they are replica designs that china dumps on us?
It has been a tradition over the years in many West African countries to reserve African wears for Sundays only, occasions or specific gatherings where everyone else would be wearing African prints and tailored garments instead of just wearing them daily. T.m Lewin shirts for Monday, Cedar wood state for Tuesday, NEXT for Wednesday……Ralph Lauren’s Polo for Saturday of course then “Traditional” from our tailor down the road for sunday. Only if we steadily wore our indigenous designs then we can also have luxury brands and have the rest of the world craving African fashion.
Recently, people have woken up to the reality that Africa just as much to offer in the international fashion scene, from modelling to designing, garment production, jewellery making, fashion shows and so on. Many Youths are beginning to understand and embrace contemporary African fashion in their daily lives which is a bold step forward today.
Fashion in Africa has seen a strong paradigm shift, with an increase in number of designers and models, to stylists and more individuals getting involved in fashion and garment production generally, It has been a long time coming and finally Africans are embracing made in Africa products which is quite a beautiful sight to behold . There has been a strong presence of prints and indigenous fabrics with a fine blend of fashion photography, creative designing and eccentric fashion shows overflowing over the years, it may be safe to say African fashion is finally gaining its strong ground in the international fashion scene.
Made in Africa, Proudly African, together we can export Africa to the world.
Writer: Deborah Odegwa