For Your Daily Dose of MbA

Microblog on Facebook so follow today :)


"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

African Fashion: Green, Ethical, Trendy, Not For Africans?

Fashion model Liya Kebede, who has acted in The Lord of War and The Good Shepherd, is not only a UN Goodwill Ambassador, but also an African businesswoman.  In an effort to help local artisans, she created her fashion line Lemlem in 2007 "to inspire economic independence in her native country, [Ethiopia], and to preserve the art of weaving." Here are some lovely photos of the weaving process.  However, most of the clothes are for kids and all of the items are rather pricey. It is clear that this venture is not meant for African consumption, but to appeal to elite Western consumers.

This seems to be a trend - eco-chic and/ or ethical style.  Dressing is one of the easiest ways we can express who we are and what we stand for, and it seems fashion has no intention of not jumping on the green and ethical bandwagon.

Lauren Pierce is a line by designer Lauren Bush, that boasts one-of-a-kind pieces made from sustainable textiles dyed by DRC women with ten percent of the profits going to Women for Women International to help women in post-conflict areas. The targeted demographic is the natural, confident, vanguard, humanitarian, activist woman.  She also has to have deep pockets.

Yodit Eklund, an Ethiopian-American, created the line Bantu, that offers swimwear that intends to get Africa to be thought of as producing finished products, rather than the raw materials that are of less economic value. Vanity Fair sold it to the consumers Bantu was trying to reach as a way to save Africa.   Hmmmmm  :* (that is me kissing my teeth at the simplification of how to make a difference in Africa).  However, this sentiment sort of encapsulates the novel ways a certain conscious, proactive and ethical class of Westerners are got into helping our continent nowadays.

What makes me sad is that upwardly mobile Africans are not targeted too.  There are people in the diaspora and indeed even people across Africa who can afford to help their own.  And yet they are not marketed to.  They are not encouraged to take pride in dressing in fine garb designed and created by their own.  They are not at the forefront, being the trendsetters.  At the same time, why aren't we seeking out these avenues to contribute and to show what Africa has to offer with pride? Instead we will be the ones to ask our Western friend where they got their clothing from and they get to tell this great story of how fashion is doing its part to to move Africa in a positive direction both economically and culturally.

No comments:

Post a Comment