We have been watching what Franca Sozzani Editor of Vogue Italia has been up to recently. There have been many reports, articles interviews and videos of her travelling to various countries on the African continent (such as Nigeria,Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa) and now we can see a small snippet of the developments of her travels.
We introduce you to ‘Discovered in Africa’ a project in collaboration with yoox.com, to raise awareness of African design talents and provide them with sales opportunities in Europe and even globally. This project began and stems from a larger initiative Franca is involved with called Fashion for Development which started in 1996 by former Bangladeshi model Bibi Russell and promotes development in emerging countries through fashion. With the help of Unesco F4D is a development campaign for the textile sector started specifically as a means to help female workers free themselves from poverty. They have chosen Franca Sozzani as a Fashion for Development Goodwill Ambassador who has recently travelled to various African countries to seek out and create a network of small and medium-size businesses working in fashion in Africa. She aimed to ‘discover the small productions that are already active but do not enjoy the visibility and distribution that are necessary for their own development and that of the surrounding territory.’ (Vogue Italia online)
So this week Yoox.com launched the project ‘Discovered in Africa’ which presents and sells African made product such as that by womens cooperative Global Mamas in Ghana, Nigerian designer Tiffany Amber (one of my personal favourites) who has a great eye for print and textiles, Sabahar an Ethiopian company we recently visited (stay connected for our Ethiopia report next week) who make beautiful scarves that I just had to purchase made from silk worms silk and vegetable dyes, Again in Ethiopia, there are the beautiful creations of the top model Liya Kebede and much more.
The project will be presented yoox.com in conjunction with the May edition of Vogue. Marina Spadafora is an Italian fashion designer who has collaborated with F4D on the first selection of products sold online exclusively onYoox.com. Her experience for years has been working with sustainable productions across the world and says: “To produce in Africa it takes months, there are no seasonal collections; realities such as Global Mamas in Ghana weave, dye and print their fabrics by hand and this also conditions the distribution”.
The title ‘Discovered’ in Africa is debatable but the concept and the market opportunities is one that we highly support. We look forward to seeing more collections coming to the site and new designers and made in Africa product too.
Source: Africa Fashion Guide