So we are coming to the end of 2012 and looking back we firstly go back to our Fashion Prediction article and it is interesting to see how this year has truly become Fashion’s Year of Africa.
With our African Cotton Slogan Tee-shirt campaign launching on the catwalk at London Fashion Weeks Vauxhall Fashion Scout in February, with Arise magazine bringing a whooping 77 designers to their fashion week in March – to which was attended by the Guardian and Drapers, Hub of Africa fashion week launching with USAID in April, our founder Jacqueline Shaw as a panel speaker on “Africa Eco” discussion at Africa Utopia at London Southbank during the London Olympics this summer, and also a speaker at Bahar dar University in Ethiopia. Along side this fashion shows Africa Fashion Week London and New York all got bigger this year and more successful.
Omoyemi Akerele of Style House Files brought designers to Pitti Imagine in Italy and then showcasing Matthew Williamson at her October show of Lagos Fashion and Design Week – of which was attended by NY Times Suzy Menkes and an abundance of international buyers, she went on to work with Selfridges to launch a Nigerian designer pop up shop in London’s Selfridges store. Then there was our mammoth research trip to 6 African countries in October, our tees launching on the catwalk at Ghana Fashion Week and Africa Fashion Week Los Angeles. We cant forget the wildly spoken IHT Luxury Conference in Rome titled the ‘Promise of Africa’ bringing Africa to the international fashion scene and changing perceptions.
Our successes included being recognised by the Guardian newspaper online for being one of the top10 African fashion websites and more recently being recognised as a runner-up in the Media category for Ethical Fashion Forum’s Source Awards. And not to forget the African launch of our Fashion Africa Seminar held for the first time in Nairobi, Kenya!
And this is all to name a few things this year. Wow it has been a fantastic year.
We predict that 2013 will see a revival of fashion brands sourcing and producing in Africa. For a rise of Inclusive Business Models to take over business strategies. With projects like the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Africa initiative having just launched in Ghana after its successes in Kenya, we predict that more international brands will be seeking ways of connecting with artisans, crafts people and producers on the continent to add to their CSR strategies and to seek a new way of doing things.
As we have reviewed a few times this year there are more African fashion boutiques opening online and this is highlighting the African fashion consumer as one not to be overlooked. Events, fashion shows, and the growth of African fashion designers at international trade shows and pop up shops shows that African fashion is taking off from the continent and entering new global markets. So due to this the African designers and those in the Diaspora will even more want to go back to the source of what they do….Africa….and look at ways to produce there.
Maybe companies large and small are seeing this as their way of “doing good” or maybe because they are recognising what Africa truly has to offer and its competitive edge but we predict there will be more trade with Africa in retail and fashion sourcing and manufacturing in 2013.
Why do we do this you may still wonder.
Well this comes down to our mission and our rationale behind it. Africa Fashion Guide was birthed to fulfil a need. One that promotes the full supply chain of the African fashion and textile industry to the greater global textile industry with an ethical perspective. It is a one stop shop and platform for fashion professionals, students, retailers, magazines, bloggers and all those interested in African fashion and textiles as a way to promote this industry and bring links between African designers, craftspeople, manufacturers and textile designers with UK and EU fashion design companies and consumer markets, as well as with retailers worldwide. The Africa Fashion Guide website provides up to date information and news on all aspects of the African fashion and textiles industry.
Our mission is:
1-To Support Economic Development in Africa
2-To Support the use of Ethical and Sustainable Textiles
3-To Strengthen Trade Relationships over just Aid
4-To Support Fairtrade Principles
5-To Encourage Discussion and Implement Action
6-To Build active Relationships between Fashion Organisations (designers, fashion schools, media) in UK/Europe and African Designers, Manufacturers, Textiles Suppliers, Artisans and Workshops
Alongside this Africa Fashion Guide will be launching our online store mid January 2013 as many of you have requested to buy our African Cotton Slogan Tees. We will be coming to you with more projects in London and Internationally such as the launch of our consultancy again to meet the needs of so many of you that have requested this.
We will be attending even more events African and Ethical fashion, and liasing and networking with more industry bodies and stakeholders. We also have another Africa research trip planned for April 2013 as well as our yearly Fashion Africa Seminar – maybe next year it will be in Ghana or again in Nairobi. Tell us your thoughts!
We will be growing our team too and launching a new competition and African based projects. We already have an amazing team of which we are grateful for their efforts and strong contributions over this year and aim to present a new arm of the company meaning the team will need to grow. So will be seeking your help. Interested? then email us for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above all we will bring the business of African fashion and textiles to you in a fresh way and, above all, with an ethical perspective to let you know who are the changemakers on the continent, and for the continent to encourage more trade through production.
It is an exciting time for Africa and so we encourage you to continue to read and prepare yourself for a year of fashion year of Africa!