There has been an upside down relationship when it comes to that between designers and fashion show organizers in Africa in comparison to the rest of the world.
Where in most scenarios designers, big and small, will pay to gain a slot on the runway, here in Ghana and many other African countries, most designers await their calls, and in some cases payment to exhibit their clothes on the runway.
Where international, they await plane tickets and hotel confirmation. If this sound weird, don’t be surprised this is the norm for many African fashion shows.
With the growth of fashion in Africa, the expansion of African print media around the world, and the overtake of social media over print media many shows in Africa are receiving a good amount of coverage that can contribute to designer branding.
Buyers from UK, USA and more are in tuned into what they see in the press and social media. Some that specialize in African fashion. The tables are slowly turning, show organizers are no longer desperate to have you exhibit at their show just to fill up entertainment time, it is now becoming a question of your dedication to your branding and business ethics to be present where possible.
Across the whole African continent, with the exception of South Africa, most designers only reach out to a clientele base of close friends, people that see a design they like, or people who shop with them based on convenience. There is only a handful of African designers whose branding and popularity are calling upon clients from near and far.
Fashion shows are costly business events where people are paid and sometimes entertainers because some designers alone are not exciting enough to pull a crowd. All this is only for designers to sell and promote their designs without contribution. It is only courtesy that some respect and payment is due, as one will do if they were abroad.
Organizers need to network together and reframe from paying or even inviting designers for free. Africa is currently at it’s turning point. Fashion show organizers need to grant opportunities to new emerging designers who respect business relations and are making just as great designs as the older generation.
Despite what some may think in Africa, the difference between up-and-coming designers and many of the older designers in most cases is just a facebook page away, of which fans can be bought for less than a few dollars. In fact, with the growth of the industry across Africa, now is the worst time for designers to be disobedient with branding.
This is not to ignore the notion that fashion show organizers also need to take a fair approach and stop giving free entries to friends and people they wish to befriend whilst over-pricing new designers and non-associates.
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