Organisers of Accra Fashion Week are set to hold two editions of the nations premier fashion event in Ghana in 2018, hence the seasonal titles now added to the public name. This year we just witnessed Accra Fashion Week S/H17, SH which stands for Summer/Harmattan, and early next year we are set to witness C/R18 in march, CR which stands for Chilly Rainy. Styles displayed during this season will be aim and set to be trending during the June-August period where Ghana experiences a very chilled and rainy period.
However, the Accra Fashion Week C/R18 will be heavily focused on bringing light to how fashion can end the root cause of slavery in Libya and according to the organisation it is simply put below.
“Most people ask if the West Africans are aware of the poor status of Libya since the downfall of Gaddafi and how do they even end up there. Well it’s simply, Libya is one of the passages from Africa to the Western world. Most of the West Africans that get caught there are usually attempting to transit to the West as refugees. And through the many hurdles they face on the way to their so called heaven, getting caught in Slavery in Libya is one new additions the world has come to recognize next to drowning in failed boats.
But the question is why are they even trying to find their way to the west. Sometimes some of the victims are not necessarily runaways but individuals duped into being told to travel to the west and then find themselves caught in horrific conditions. There are bad parts of Africa, but to date there is no where that bad that will make someone execute such a horrible journey, especially when they can just maneuver their way to a better location in their same country.
Funny enough one of the first entries into the west via the passage of Libya is Italy. This is usually the dream destination and the succession point for those trying to migrate. They believe the wealth is there, in Europe, Italy. So as far as fashion is concerned let’s look at why the wealth is there. Do these words ring a bell…Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Moschino, Gucci, Fendi & Giorgio Armani.
These brands right here are some of the most worn brands in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Italian brands! So In Ghana here, the “poor” country, we have a heep of citizens that will work hard in their 9am-5pm jobs, or their creative ‘staying up all night’ jobs, or even their criminal jobs. And then spend it on Italian brands, just as the online boutiques will ship stocks of new and used clothes from Italy and Europe. Feeding designers, workers and heir children and families in italy, yes we are. In case the point is not clear, our citizens that are running to these countries are running to them as a consequence of the wealth we do not spend on our own fashion brands, but give away to italian brands.
So technically they are chasing your hard earned money. Money that could have employed them had we developed a strong culture of buying and purchasing our African and Ghanaian made brands. We can’t ignore the directions and then cry when we get lost. Ignore the cause and cry about the symptoms. By supporting our industries we support our economy, create jobs and give our citizens less of reasons to try to run to Italy.
Such an incident like what is taking place should be a national embarrassment, however we are so used to crying out about our failures it feels like another day on social media. What is just as embarrassing is when a Ghanaian thinks bragging about wearing Italian brands holds the same weight as when an Italian brags about wearing Italian brands, it is not the same thing…..it’s demoralizing and embarrassing and contributing to the ditch in our economy that is creating this crisis.
Fashion is one of the key factor industries we can build to combat poverty. It is one of the few where the potential innovators are only business formulas away from competing with some of the international major brands. One Ghanaian successful brand can create jobs for shop owners and their staff, tailors, fabric producers and transporters, marketers, illustrators, and more.
Accra Fashion Week C/R18 aims to continue to put such brands at the forefront of the daily Ghanaians lips, but this time with the aim of challenging the conditions that are making West Africans get caught up in such horrific situations. The aim is to act on the cause and not await the symptoms before we cry our hearts out. Be a part of Accra Fashion Week C/R18, visit www.accrafashionweek.org for more info.