This year’s Fashion Focus Talks visited the vibrant African cities of Abuja, Lagos, Dakar and Kigali, the latter two for the very first time. Between the 20th of August and 10th of September 2019, Heineken Lagos Fashion Week brought together prominent stakeholders in the African fashion industry to impart their insight on the theme, #BeyondCreativity.
Fashion Focus Talks is a product of Fashion Focus Africa, a platform intent on positively impacting fashion creatives. The annual talks are a series of specially organized free events targeted at young African creatives in the fashion industry.
Speaking across the cities were brilliant fashion creatives and professionals: Selly Raby Kane, Sarah Diouf, Rukky Ladoja, Sophie Nzinga SY, Pierra Ntayombya, Anna Toure, Terfa Ashwe, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Mai Atafo, Isioma Onochie Aihie, Sanyade Okoli, Joseph Ike and Founder of #LagosFW and Style House Files, Omoyemi Akerele. Cultivating conversations that focused on how fashion businesses can create more value across the continent.
Pierra Ntayombya, the CEO of Haute Baso expressed the importance of disseminating African narratives,
Millennial customers are looking for sustainable products that have a story. They want to know where the products are from and if they are ethically sourced. We have a huge opportunity to tell our own stories.
Fashion Focus Talks created the perfect atmosphere for attendees to network and share ideas that could inspire creative collaborations in the African fashion industry. By coming together and building a network that fosters growth through knowledge sharing, African brands have a better chance at thriving and the Talks create the right environment for this to occur.
Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane spoke enthusiastically on the value of building productive relationships within the industry:
The Selly Raby Kane brand has been in operation since 2012 and what has kept me focused is having other creatives around to know it can be an economy of mutuality and solidarity. It is very important that we all maintain a mindset of the community, a mindset that designs what is completely original but we need to work together to make it happen.
Rukky Ladoja Creative Director of GREY Projects commented on her experience as a speaker in all 4 cities:
As an individual that has experienced the varying elements of building a fashion brand in Africa, it’s important for me to pass on what I have learnt and Fashion Focus Talks has been the ideal platform for me to do so. Creativity abounds on this continent, ensuring that these brands are given all they need to succeed is imperative for the growth of the African fashion industry.
Heineken Lagos Fashion Week Returns on 23rd – 26th October 2019