With the exception of Yemi Alade, Efya, Mr Eazi, Manifest and a few others, one can say African musicians have done an appalling job at supporting African fashion or brands in general. It might go unnoticed but it’s a grave missed opportunity for the growth of our fashion sector if one imagines the countless music videos, lyrics and concerts African brands could have been featured in.
Some of our biggest artists have been some of our worst failures in this field. From the likes of Sarkodie, Wizkid, Davido, Shatta Wale and more. This is not the first time we are highlighting this, we did so at the very start of our magazine when we took to various events to question celebrities about it, see us in motion at Ghana Rocks 2012.
Shortly after we made an impact, D black had a concert featuring many Ghanaian male artists all coming out in African fashion agbadas and more and seeing him at another event that followed, he made it clear to us we inspired that. Mind you at the time the fashion industry was still growing, so it gave hope that things will get better in the union between the then fast growing African music industry and the African fashion world, but……unfortunately this wasn’t the case.
Once FashionGHANA.com stopped mounting pressure in this field, things went back to abnormal. As they say, when the cats away, the rats come out to play. The only thing that remained from the impact of us chastising celebrities was the change in red celebrity carpet looks and wedding outfits. Which today (in Ghana) remains dominated by Ghanaian designers. However, although it’s an appreciated step up it might also be only because it’s a clear convenience to the celebs. After all, why order a big ball gown from Europe that a lot can’t afford, if a humble, wishing to get their name out there designer is ready to make a dress for you at the mere cost of fabrics in return for social media credits.
It wasn’t look ago we saw music manager of Wendy Shay, Bullet, screaming his head off at a Ghanaian DJ for not playing Ghanaian music, it’s not long ago since we saw Davido step to the BET awards calling foreigners to come to Africa and wear our clothes, yet these remain hypocritical to their wishes neglecting the works of their extravagant talented designers at home, calling out every foreign brand from champagne, clothes and cars but will never once rap about any African brand or even wear a shirt by one in their videos.
We watched African musicians cry for support in early days. Remember when 2Face, D’Banj and Wande Cole were carrying he flag high and taking it international? Putting their accents over dance hall like beats? Then Wizkid appeared? It has come a long way. It felt like a fabulous revolution will happen for African culture and it did. But as far as the players in that field goes, it stops there. They are eating now, forget about Ghanaian made cars Kantanka, sing about bughattis. Forget about Ghanaian made beverages, sing about Ciroc. Forget about our fashion brands, sing about Gucci.
The worst thing about these artists and most celebs, after showing no support for our fashion world, they then spring off to create their fashion lines which eventually rots out of society in extreme failure. They do not embrace the lessons of how difficult it is to maintain a clothing line even with their popularity and apply it to supporting local brands. Sark Collections at this point and time has failed, J melo failed, both Davidos… baddest failed, obo failed. Now Shatta Wale has launched his.
Musicians are currently the face and representation of Africa, but not only that, they are also the real influencers, despite what any ‘social media style influencer’ might believe. They have a right to wear as they please, but we as Ghanaians or Africans, especially in the fashion world, also have a right to retract our support and spread our thoughts on their failures to return the support to made in Africa brands. Or alternatively push further the ones that do.
But most of all we can not continue to act like there is nothing wrong with a Ghanaian or African artists that gets millions of views on their youtube songs, 10,000s like and views on instagram, and of over 1000s of posts is hardly ever seen, or in some cases never seen, in any of the African brands.
African fashion has grown tremendously, from our fashion weeks, to design attributes and more, without piggybacking off support from musicians, TV, nor government. It has done so simply on the strength of social media and bloggers. However despite the success of our brands, they still have a long way to go to compete with the foreign ones our musicians so dearly love and sing about. Yes, there are financial implications behind our musicians selection of clothes, but in the space where no one has paid you to were anything or given you anything for free, please look to the direction of your local based talent. We hope this will inspire change and not disgruntle our musicians. Feel free to visit https://www.accrafashionweek.org/gallery/ and pick out something you like and get inouch with our brands.
See More Look Books Here.