Africa in vogue and loving it at Dakar Fashion Week

Fashion has never been as Afrocentric and African designers at the Dakar Fashion Week gave their own spin to prints and fabrics inspiring celebrities and fashion houses.

The event wrapped Sunday with a final show drenched in glamour, showcasing what's hot from Mali to Equatorial Guinea to Ivory Coast this season.

African prints are currently inspiring big names from Beyonce to Burberry, with the iconic British brand's 2012 collection shot through with bright printed batik material. Singer and designer Gwen Stefani also adopted the theme in 2011.

Designers in Dakar, such as US-based Senegalese Yolande Mancini, were on the pulse with her red dress with batik shoulders and gold dress with bright printed cape.

Malian designer Maria Bakhoum's collection was in earthy tones with the traditional Bogolan mudcloth while Equatorial Guinea's Alfredo Monsuy mixed satin and silk with traditional wax prints.

From Morocco's Meryem Boussikouk - a collection of modern kaftans in "hot African colours" and contemporary cuts.

But, being an African designer isn't all about ethnic prints as Ivorian Patrick Asso showed with his all blue collection.

"There are African designers doing beautiful things which are not African," said Almamy Lo, the artistic director responsible for choosing the designers.

Organiser Adama Paris, a former model and now a designer, began the event nine years ago despite massive challenges and no government support in the west African nation.

"I really think that there is a market, there is an audience. People love fashion in Africa, they buy it. I dont know why it isn't structured. I sell, people sell, but we don't have distribution channels so everybody just sells where we can," she told AFP.

"The most difficult thing is showing your designs."

There is no venue in Dakar for an event like this and organisers are forced to hold shows in restaurants and hotels.

The budget was cut this year as the financial crisis discouraged sponsors and the event got off to a rocky start with a silent opening night as the country's copyright bureau shut off the music claiming their fee had not been paid.

Despite the difficulties Paris presses ahead with her dream.

"We have so much talent. They just need a push," she said, stressing that one should not underestimate the African fashionista.

"Even the girl who lives in a village goes to the hairdresser once a month at least," Paris said.

But like many of the designers, her biggest challenge is getting Africans to buy local, with European designers and brand names still the most coveted.

"Right now it is the time of African fashion and fabric. It is colourful and it's something different. We want to show a different Africa, not just war and death that the west shows, but a bit of glamour."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own