We stumbled across an op-ed piece written by Omoyemi Akerele (creator of Lagos Fashion and Design Week) for The Business of Fashion website, which made some interesting observations about the state of the African Fashion Industry and its integration (or lack thereof) in the global fashion market. Read the article here.
We have spent many a morning (hotly) discussing this very topic in our HQ whilst doing inventory checks, packing orders and going about our daily My Asho business.
What is it this industry needs to propel it forward? Is it as Omoyemi suggests, giving African designers a chance by providing a (retail) space in which to shine alongside top global brands? Has this not been done before (Ndani Project at Selfridges 2012)?
What should potential investors be on the lookout for? A collective group of African designers or just creative individuals doing their thing? What if the chosen one or "collective" don't deliver - does that ruin things for the rest of the continent? Duro Olowu had a collaboration with JC Penney - is that enough? What would enough look like? One, two, three, ten, fifty four (one for each country in Africa) African designers on the global fashion stage? Are designers even ready and able to scale up production should an opportunity arise? And of course the old favourite - What is African Fashion?
There are so many "hot topics" this article brings up, so we're throwing it out to you all for debate. Designer Emmy Collins has kicked things off by writing a rebuttal piece on the Style Vitae site (Read here). What's your take on this? We'd love to hear from you!
Do feel free to leave a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter.