October has been a very juicy month for fashionista’s and fashion media like ours which happens to be the only website covering and documenting the latest designs on the runways across Africa. We recently just brought you Zimbabwe Fashion Week from the 25th-28th of September, SA Fashion Week 2015 in South Africa from the 15th- 18th October, and Zambia Fashion Week which happened from the 16th-18th of October. But not only that, just around the corner we will soon be blessed with and blessing you with the following…..
Lagos Fashion & Design Week in Nigeria 29th Oct – 1st Nov
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in South Africa 29th Oct – 1st Nov
Botswana Culture and Design Week 31st Oct – 2nd Nov
Glitz Africa Fashion Week in Ghana 6th – 9th Nov
Also a little bit further away is
Fashion Weekend Gambia, 5th-6th December
Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania, 5-7th December
In case you ever loose track of events and fashion schedule, you can be sure to find all accredited African fashion events by clicking on the FashionGHANA.com Events tab or following this link http://www.fashionghana.com/events/
It is very clear that October/November is forming to be a great fashion season for Africa. For the past decades Africa’s fashion weeks have technically been all over the place. Some at the beginning of the year, some mid, and some at the end of the year. In fact, almost every two months one can find a fashion week in Africa.
Such a scenario makes it hard for fashion editors to spot trends in Africa, hard for designers to maintain exclusive presentations on the runway, hard for fashionistas to schedule their time tables for events, hard for models being represented in a number of countries to fluently participate, and also hard for stockists to budget appropriately if at any stage they intend to be buyers.
Hence the uniformed arrangement of the fashion weeks in the main capitals going back to back with each other, London, Milan, Paris & New York.
Despite the overlapsing of some of the events, it is a beautiful alignment and period for fashion weeks in Africa, although this is far from intentional. The truth is most of these organizers barely have communication with each other, and a good amount of them are not aware of the other.
Problem being is that our organizers usually do not only organize the fashion week schedules that allows fashion show organizers to create events in, our organizers organize the scheduled AND the shows and there for are over occupied with preparations to be concerned what happens elsewhere.
For those who need a little break down, the concept of fashion weeks are sort of like a festival of fashion activities, mainly fashion shows, to give tourists, foreigners and locals a steady time to engage in and do business with members of the fashion industry, instead of the activities being spread across the year making it hard to then find out who designed what and when.
SO where the councils and fashion week brand owners come in, is to regulate and provide a timely schedule where designers and event organizers can register their events within a particular week that will be publicized by the fashion week brand owners. Meaning the fashion week owners are not responsible for each and every show, but collecting a commission to listing the shows on a schedule, internationally promoting the fashion week, helping sponsors and buyers to know which designers and shows to engage with and so forth.
Therefore the efforts behind what carries the name of such fashion weeks is beyond high numbers. Different venues, different organizations, different casting directors, different set of models, different financial budgets, different sponsors and more for different shows, all placed in a professional timely week schedule. Also big business for the transport, leisure and accommodation industry in the country, which doesn’t need explaining.
So where as here, this responsibility falls with a handful of people that will extensively try to organize each and every show on the same runway, with the same models, with the same audience, venue and so forth. Which is also an explanation as to why our fashion weeks can barely make it past 3/4 days and in some cases two.
However, these brave and heroic organizers that have plagued Africa have began the first necessary step that is highly needed. A step that can be improved as far as fashion business is concerned, but serves a great contribution towards the branding of our designers. Whether in the near future one will be able to change the format, sacrifice self gains and open doors for more organizers to flood the said period of the promoted week, and take it to the next level is another questions.
So now that has been ironed out let’s get back on track regarding an international seasonal schedule. It will be appealing if the fashion week organizers in Africa could consider opening a uniformed agreement amongst themselves, this way we could have a steady flow of events.
This is not to say if African fashion weeks went back to back everything will automatically fall in place. But here are some things to consider. Imagine if this was the case, all the fashion weeks could unite on bringing an airline to support with sponsorship to make travelling for models and designers cheaper, and better and more international sponsorship for the airlines. Then we would be able to create not only international designers but also models and media coverage, or atleast obtain exciting deals.
It will also make it easier for designers to brand their collections instead of being caught in the dilemma of wondering if they would need to showcase a new collection or the one they did 2-6 months ago.
The point above is also necessary towards making a big trend impact. In Africa we do not have trends. We have a lot of great dresses, great designers, trend advisers, styles and stylists, but no trends. The closest thing to a trend in Africa is the use of Angelina print, known as dashikis in USA, but that’s about it.
Trends are timely factors that grab a nation or at least a large number of people at a particular time. And with no timely process for our fashion exhibitions that is not happening. Not for fashion fans, not for fashion reviews, not for celebrities, not for anybody as far as fashion in Africa is concerned.
Therefore, the steady alignment of fashion weeks and a fashion week season is definitely a great power move for African fashion, trends, buyers and media coverage. So to make this short and sweet we will be sure to forward this article onto fashion week organizers we know with the hope that they may begin dialogue amongst themselves, and feel free to do the same in the hope that African fashion can be more organized. Let’s see what happens in 2 years time.
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