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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fanele Chester Guest Blogs For MIMI: What Does The Future Of African Fashion Look Like

Written By: Fanele Chester @FaneleLoveThe end of 2010 will mark a successful decade in African fashion. More designers emerged with incredible talent, drawing from both the modern world and cultural heritage. There has been growing support for exposure in the number of fashion weeks held per year, in Africa and abroad. ARISE, AUDI and South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg and Cape Town have become highlight events for designers who want to establish themselves, and are held up as an industry standard all other fashion shows seek to emulate.

The ARISE African Collective during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week NY and ARISE L’Afrique-à-Porter during Paris Fashion Week, are both a world stage for successful African designers to further establish themselves globally. David Tlale, Deola Sagoe, Stoned Cherrie, Loin Cloth & Ashes, Tiffany Amber and KLUK CGdT are some examples of African designers that have enjoyed international exposure and local success, and have had a strong impact on African fashion this decade, and have significantly contributed to its progress.

As 2010 comes to a close, and another decade begins, what indicators can give us a clue about the nature of African fashion in the future? Here are my predictions:

1. Pop-up shops—fashion will no longer be exclusive and limited to those with deep pockets, but will infiltrate street-wear and have a greater influence on how Africans dress and perceive fashion.

2. These days, it's not uncommon for fashion houses to be backed by investment banks, but how can African designers gain more bank without investors? One way is by producing affordable lines, even if not by partnering with huge established retailers, but with smaller, independent ones. In the same way that designers are collaborating with retailers, e.g. Lanvin for H&M, we will see more outreach by established designers to reach low income consumers, such as students and young adults. David Tlale is already expanding his clientele base by relocating to a new and less exclusive/more artsy location in Braamfontein, South Africa called 70 on Juta, where he will focus on ready-to-wear and more affordable pieces for his store.

3. More innovative ways of expanding the entrepreneurial or business side of fashion will increase. Examples such as Pulchritude and Lost & Found where young people who have been directly involved in the industry or grew up around the emerging fashion scene will find technologically innovative ways of making a buck from fashion.

4. Younger designers will find more experimental ways of infusing African heritage and culture into designing. We're seeing more bags on the runway made of traditional cloth but in line with modern trends, and more shoes as well. This is great because in fashion, smaller and cheaper accessories are what bring in the most revenue.

5. As the internet becomes more accessible to a number of people, there will be an increase in online shopping. The best indicator for this is Facebook, which a lot of designers and small retailers are already using as a cheap and effective marketing opportunity. The more mobile technology is improved, from the devices used to the accessibility of internet, the more consumers in Africa will shop online.

(Photo Credits: © Blend Images Photography / Veer)


kenyatta Manning Pictures said...

good read - thanks for sharing.