“What is the real interest behind Arise’s parading of African designers around the world?” . . . Ifashion.com writer Milisuthando Bongela ask? Bongela further tries to answer her main topic, “Is it Necessary for South African Designers to Show Abroad.” The author questions the benefit to designers that have shown abroad and ask about the cost and the lack of fashion insiders and buyers at the international platforms where African designers show. A good and provocative read.
The bigger question for us at Ladybrillemag.com is, “is it necessary for African designers to show abroad?” From where we sit, “yes” if they are prepared and ready to handle the buyer demands that we hope international exposure ultimately brings. Obviously any step taken towards that end should be done prudently.
“I was at the Arise African Collective Fashion show in New York this year and was very impressed at the turnout but slightly nervous about the collections, because as much as I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing, I still wanted the African designers to do well. I’d been attending the other shows as a spot marker for Video Fashion and had seen fashion editors of powerful publications and the most respected fashion journalists at most of the shows.
I got a “standing” ticket to the show, which I was grateful for because of my late application for accreditation, and as a result, got a better view of the front rows…which had not a single one of those highly respected journalists I’d seen at the other shows. I’m talking about Suzy Menkes, Cathy Horyn, Andre Leon-Talley and Anna Wintour.
At that moment, my gut-feeling was confirmed and I got an irritated lump in my throat. Then the questions started…were we Africans invited by IMG to show here? How did this come about? What are the financial returns for these designers? Are African designers now going to export their clothes to the US? I then noticed that the audience was strangely but not so strangely, very African. I’d been attending the shows all week and I could count the number of African Americans or black people in attendance. For this show, it looked like every single African in New York was there to support Africa. It felt good to see so many Africans, and to get a few “Sawubona’s” from strangers, but why were there so few of the people that make the global fashion industry go round? What were Black Coffee, Loin Cloth and Ashes and Deola Sagoe going to get from showing in New York? Were there buyers there to talk deals with them after the show?”
Read the full article here.