Thursday, October 21, 2010
Refashioning The African PoliticCategory: Africana
Written By: Jamelia Mmari—For the many self-employed African tailors who dress men and women who cannot afford to purchase imported clothes at retail stores to the crafty African artisans who capture the imaginations of tourists with uniquely crafted jewelry, there is no question that the success of the African fashion industry has a direct correlation to their well-being and livelihood. And for those entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the global (mis)appropriation of “African fashion,” all eyes are on the continent; indeed, anybody tuned into fashion knows that the “African aesthetic” is not only tipping into the mainstream, it is in vogue. Yet for some, African fashion is regarded as a passing fancy to preoccupy elite upper class African women, and not the stuff of intellectuals, economists, politicians, and social activists trying to solve the continent’s problems. It is precisely that misconception that fails to recognize the importance of African fashion’s place in the development of the continent as a vehicle to generate both serious revenue and cultural change.