On 9th September 2011 I served as a panellist at the launch of the African Fashion Guide by Jacqueline Shaw. The event showcased some African designers, considered issues of ethical sourcing, labelling as well as the current status of African Fashion.
My point of view of the fashion industry in general is that it provides a superb opportunity to fight poverty especially amongst women but they are challenges to be overcome
- the culture of transacting business in Africa vs Europe
- infrastructure- in some landlocked countries products can go through 3 countries before reaching the shipping port. This has implications for freight costs and production costs
- knowledge of the market that African fashion designers are trying to supply into
- Africans failing/refusing to consume African fashion affects growth of this industry
- The terms that the media use to describe Africa fashion- Tribal, Ethnic etc and lately Italian Vogue added a new term to the list SLAVE EARINGS
- Lack of skills
- Capital to scale projects
- Access to markets
- Competition from China and India
- The Second Hand clothes market
This event started a very important conversation that I would like us to continued especially around issues of certification and labelling- are these always realistic in an African setting or even affordable?
What about Aid? How can it contribute to fashion as a tool to fight poverty?
On my way out I was stopped by a young lady who had a very long question for me. It was 10PM and I was keen to get home so we agreed to continue the conversation. A few days ago she sent her question and comments by email and that will be the subject of part 2 of this conversation
As usual join the conversation by sharing your views here