Today, New York opens its runways for the first Africa Fashion Week, bringing the work of emerging African designers to the catwalk, and showcasing a growing industry that bridges a gap between a poverty stricken continent and one of the most profitable consumer bases in the world: the woman’s closet.
Designers are already exploiting the beauty of the African continent: the producer of this week’s shows reports photographing African styles in American stores to inspire her Nigerian relatives to seize this movement. Bringing African designers and manufacturers into the fold of this booming industry will open doors to economic prosperity and creative outlets.
Yet Africa Fashion Week symbolizes more than economic opportunity and the globalization of design. Turning attire into a commodity serves as a reminder of the darker side of fashion: the direct impact that the industry has on models, as well as the surrounding culture. READ MORE »