There are quite a number of fashion terminologies being misused in Ghana and Nigeria, and to some extent, Africa. Not long ago I wrote a blog about ‘The Difference Between African Fashion Designers And Print Tailors‘ which fairly falls into a similar category.
I think the main obvious reason why the title requests African designers should stop saying Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer when titling their collections is simply very obvious. Except south Africa, there is no winter anywhere on the Continent, and I am yet to research but I am sure there is no autumn or spring neither.
However, this is far from the only reason and it goes a lot further than that. Even if there was to be such seasons going through Africa, most of the designers that use these terms do not construct their designs by these seasons, nor the seasonal colours.
For those fairly new to use of the terms autumn/winter and spring/summer, these terms are used to describe collections by designers mainly in countries where there is snow, spring, and about 1 to 2 months worth of sunshine. Due to weather changes, the style and designs of the clothes alternate. Their spring summer collections are usually more bright and colourful catered for the warmer periods with short shirts, shorts, swimwear, etc, and their autumn winter is catered for the winter with trousers, jackets, not always but usually casted with dark colours etc. Meaning that the average popular designer will create two collections every year to fit these terms.
In Ghana, we have the raining season during the June period, and then about two weeks of dry time in December/January called hamattan. There rest is beautiful blissful sun. So I am always puzzled when I see an autumn winter collection by designers based in Ghana and Nigeria, especially when one can be sure they are not stocking where there is winter.
What adds to the A/W confusion is the designers usually do not make more than one collection a year. There is no issue with collections being out for even more than year, I believe people need more time to appreciate the great designers out of Africa, especially when there is no mass consumption nor production. But it also doesn’t make sense to give your collection seasonal names especially when there is hardly a collection by the year. It is fairly okay to title it by the year if you aren’t sure what you are saying.
During the fashion week period of the fashion capitals, the first usually in February/March and the last/latter in September, collections are displayed roughly 6 months earlier before being made public, or one can say they are made available roughly 6 months later after being displayed on the runway. Meaning, if you tune into London Fashion Week in February or March, you will see clothes that are being displayed for the winter time in October through to January. This allows more time for popularity, stocking activities and more after showcasing it.
I tend to assume most designers in Ghana and Nigeria that may be ready to release their collections around this particular time, tune into these show via blogs and tv, see them use the autumn winter term in February, and then say ‘Hey, I will also send a press release and say this is my autumn winter collection. Despite the fact it is not being released in the Autumn Winter period, despite the fact there is no autumn winter here even, and despite the fact it wasn’t even designed for autumn winter’.
The bottom line is simple, stop trying to be, stop trying to pretend to be, because you are not. Appreciate what it is here, where you are, what you do, and work from there. Only then will you save yourself from international embarrassment when you label your clothes autumn winter for the rest of the world to be confused about what you are designing.
We will continue to publish as we are sent and informed, but please try to get it right.
PS: This is just one out of many rants why some fashion creatives don’t love me too much :) despite the fact I think I am being helpful, lol. Find more opinionated blogs by clicking the link or following the menu tabs ‘Magazine’->’Articles by Type’->’Progressive Insights and Advice’. Not all articles in there are blogs but most opinionated blogs fit in there. Although I’ve not been blogging much, we will soon separate the opinionated blogs and have them in their own category shortly.