We hope you're not tired of hearing this because we will repeat it—continuously—until it stops being true, here it is—African fashion is blowing up everywhere. Every time you look up there's an Ankara inspired outfit, a fresh fusion combining a traditional head wrap with modern day jeans, or a young, new designer working in the heart of an African nation using its heritage to inform his or her new line. Africa's creativity is taking the world by storm and has no intention on stopping.
But how is this happening? Word of mouth does go a long way, and the internet is extremely powerful, but these aren't the only culprits in this African fashion take over. What's really getting the ball rolling are international fashion conferences, events and platforms. Conferences, events and platforms do an amazing job of getting the most creative minds in the world to sit in one room to learn and grow from one another. Conferences help celebrate African fashion globally. So, let’s get acquainted with a few.
Creative Export Africa (CExA)
The creative landscape for African artisans and designers grows everyday. It’s important they have a space or event to meet and learn from one another. Introducing Creative Export Africa. Based in London, CExA is a trade show project focused on bringing African creatives and their products to the global market, providing a platform to show the extensive and beautiful work of the African diaspora to the entire world.
Working hand in hand with the National Council for Women’s Societies (one of the largest women’s and non governmental organizations in Nigeria) their event promises to usher in an opportunity for Africa’s creatives to work together, meet industry specialists, distributors, buyers, consumers, and grow as both artists and brands. The fashion focused event they’ll be throwing this year will be the West Africa Arts and Fashion Export Exhibition London 2019, which will happen June 28 - June 30.
Africa Fashion Guide
Founded by professional fashion designer and eco-entrepreneur, Jacqueline Shaw, Africa Fashion Guide is a social enterprise aimed at promoting sustainability within Africa’s fashion and textile industry. Jacqueline Shaw puts a lot of her soul into this company, and directs it all toward Africa, with one of her biggest points of focus being international development.
So, how does she achieve this? Her site is essentially a one-stop-shop for anyone in, or interested in the African fashion industry. A platform for fashion professionals, students, retailers, magazines, bloggers, anyone who has a stake in the fashion and textile business as a whole. Anyone can come and find out fashion news, updates with other designers, links and means of contact for other creatives, and most importantly info about upcoming international conferences and events, truly pushing international development.
Well, it doesn’t get any bigger than Condé Nast. For the few that don’t know, Condé Nast is a premier mass media company responsible for producing high quality content on culture. If it’s trending, influential, and turning heads on a global level, Condé Nast is talking about it through one of its 19 brands and media platforms.
They hold an annual event called Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, a conference for creative leaders and luxury business people to meet and inspire one another while they collectively celebrate a forthcoming aspect of culture and luxury. This year’s focus is African fashion. Dubbing this year’s conference, “The Nature of Luxury” they mean to highlight the power and beauty of naturally created pieces and accessories, looking at how since the beginning of African fashion, designers would sew, dye, embroider, and more using natural materials. They also mean to celebrate Africa’s continuing relevance on the global stage, recognizing African fashion as a global luxury commodity.
2019’s conference took place in Cape Town, South Africa, on April 10th and April 11th, with the showcase speaker being Naomi Campbell.