I was flipping through the pages of the internet in search of some inspiration when I came across a video on Fashion in Rome featuring African designers. This turned out to be just what I was looking for. The gist is that a group of African designers decided to make their debut at the Rome Haute Couture fashion week. These designers from Ghana, Cameroon and Uganda took part in a special show called Ethical Fashion, sponsored by Rome Haute Couture and the United Nations. The designers explained that their exhibits showed work in communities in Cameroon, Mali, Ghana and Uganda producing hand-made beads and cloth, using only locally sourced materials. As Ugandan fashion designer Sylvia Owori puts it: "The whole purpose for this show is for us to beat fate, we are like the voices for all the poverty-stricken countries in Africa to help women empower themselves to creating their own individual beads that we can be able to sell abroad or we can be able to make, promote through fashion."
It’s encouraging to see African designers coming out of hiding and begin to take their rightful places on the world stage of fashion. You can now find these men and women establishing a strong presence on the major runways of Rome, New York, Paris, and more. There’s Jewel by Lisa (Nigeria), Fall Touré (Togo), Bonigwe Walaza (South Africa), Cote Minou (Cameroon), and Maame Baryeh (Ghana), just to name a few.
In the part of the world that I live in, a lot of people have told me that they really have no idea what African fashion looks like,... Hmm... Time we tried to change that. Anyone else share my view..?