Debonair Afrik Editor, Nuel Bans, recently took a trip to Mali where he explored the city of Bamako and discussed fashion in Mali with some industry leaders.

Here, he shares his experience during his time there.

Over the past two years, I have been traveling around Africa scouting for new fashion talent a and creatives to teach, inspire and collaborate on projects for Debonair Afrik and the Style lounge platform. It’s been a journey of success and so much experience; Culture, Art and Fashion. In an era where all eyes are on Africa and big brands making moves to start producing in Africa, it is only right for us to tell our narrative before it’s been told by others. It’s time we make the best out of our continent and use the opportunities that we have.

Culture or the way of life of a people, their ideas, acts, and artifacts are one of the main determinants of whether a society develops rapidly or slowly. With a keen observation at the Mali Mode Show 2019, the fashion industry in Mali has a tendency of contributing to the country’s economic growth Mali – Bamako 2019: I had so many thoughts when I decided to attend Mali Mode Show 2019. A country rich of cultural, art and fashion yet barely touched, I never had so much expectation from this journey but however, the tables turned. From flying with Air côte devoir to staying in a luxurious suite in Azalia Hotel Bamako. A city with so much aesthetics and loud minimalist architecture. I had a “bonne Sejour” in the beautifully designed hotel called Azalia Hotel, located in the heart of Bamako.

In a conversation with Akim Soul (The creative director of Mali Mode show) and one of the finest female photographers in the capital, Coralie Coco Rabadan, about the fashion industry in Mali, she said:

“Mali has a growing fashion industry with lots of budding creative talents in the Country.”

She also mentioned how the country is blessed with very efficient local creatives that produce raw materials for the industry. Ethical fashion is one of the lucrative sectors the country dwells on. Providing jobs for many in the local sectors in the country. Also, I happened to meet and watch a fashion show by designers from Mali and neighboring countries in Africa at the Azalia hotel in Bamako. The night saw local designs by designers in their countries with some adapting the concept of ethical fashion into their collection. The likes of Jk dressing, Afrik Design, Mariah Bocoumm, Rocardo Yapo, and Lahad Gueye.

Finally, visited and shot for Debonair Afrik at one of the most historical places in Bamako, Madina. This was one of my major highlights of the trip. A historical town where Fashion culture and Arts were birthed. The Medina Gallery is a gallery of contemporary art where you can see and acquire works of art in painting, photography, and sculpture in Bamako.

The future of African fashion is before us and now is the time to make the best of it.

Connect with Nuel on Instagram: @nuelbans