Recently more and more celebrities and influential people have been wearing and using a lot of African designers. Celebrities like Beyonce and Ciara are examples. Consumers are more aware today and prefer to purchase from smaller designers and brands; thus contributing greatly to the African economy.
For decades we have been seduced and mesmerized by the huge runways and flashing lights of the major fashion cities of first word countries as they have always been in the forefront of fashion, but is that changing? Fashion has always been about the next best thing, expressing unique stories and originality. It does not matter how many fashion shows there are nor who has the most money.
The narrative is always changing, shifting and so does the business. When markets become saturated, it begs for a shift, to unearth the exclusive or the hidden ideas. Africa is a continent full of many talented people with so many interesting and diverse stories. Most of these stories are taken to the grave as the platform for self-expression can be very small in Africa. Expanding the platform benefits everyone from the designer to the collaborator and to the customer.
Nigeria and South Africa are some of the most powerful economies in Africa that immensely contributed to the African fashion industry. This encourages a lot in the community as it increases the amount of design courses, manufacturing factories and most importantly persistent creatives. We begin to provide jobs and we expand our sectors.
For a long time it has been considered to be close to impossible to be a successful designer with a huge all African brand in Africa itself, but a lot is changing due to globalisation, internet, general growth and development.
Africa will always have certain issues to overcome just like any other continent of the world, but change and growth is inevitable. People need to take advantage of these facts to uplift and empower not only themselves but the community as a whole.
In Botswana, a lot of us lack faith in what is not already successful and thriving. All we need to do is to find a place to start and take it from there. As it is we could be creating so many potential jobs for our youthful and creative community. Like I said the narrative is always shifting. Tell your story today because tomorrow no one will listen.