The African, South African in particular, Fashion industry is in turmoil, yet again. Following Africa Fashion International’s blunder of fashion awards, bloggers and murmurs are questioning Africa Fashion International’s intention when it comes to Fashion.
I have just read a blog post by Miss Milisuthando Bongela, please read it (here), it’s a fantastic read – though laced with anger and total disregard for AFI in its entirety – and it awakens dormant issues regarding the fashion industry.
Before going on a rampage, I think it’s absolutely fair that I agree with her on the prematurely thought Fashion Awards: what is the selection criterion, for instance? For Grace Jones and Michael Jackson to be awarded “prestigious” awards as they did was absolutely nonsensical. Fashion Awards need to be carefully thought through!
A Fashion Council will also assist to plateau the AFI and Lucilla Booyzen (the biggest fashion week conveners in South Africa) issues, if media is anything to go by, who I believe compliment each others work. Lucilla Booyzen hosts a national fashion week (as with most African countries) which has found, praised and hosted some the country’s finest designers – Black Coffee, David Tlale, Clive Rundle to name a few – and her contribution to South Africa’s Fashion industry is undeniably tremendous! However, through her work for the national fashion industry, there has been a minimal effort to cross the border to expose our talent to the rest of the African continent and beyond. Enter AFI. AFI’s effort to open communication channels between
So is it fair to disregard AFI’s efforts citing reasons such as: it exploits African designers and offers nothing instead… well, let’s face it, that’s nonsense. The online boutique store that AFI will be launching will also see designers, whose clothes are not readily available, being made available to the national and international market – another direct example of how AFI is trying to rectify the lack of support and exposure African designers are getting.
Fine examples of the AFI’s Africa Fashion Week success stories are Thula Sindi and Heni who have both received local and global interests and they both generated income through the onsite boutique and will both be stocking for www.36boutiques.com (an online boutique). Thula Sindi also managed to secure 1 new
Next time we hear of Bunmi Koko- who are being stocked by Harrods as of now, ahem…- winning designer of the year, heads should not turn to try to figure out who and why.