JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
FALL 2010 RTW
In an article written for iFashion, Sandiso Ngobese discusses the upcoming South Africa Fashion Week in light of the international stage brought to South Africa by the FIFA World Cup. He poses the question "Is African fashion ready for the world?". With the presence of big name footballers like David Beckham, will we see big personalities in the fashion industry like Victoria Beckham on the front row? As it is, fashion in Africa is a closed industry appreciated by Africans only. According to Ngobese, the industry is still too young to have any significant impact. As a result, internationally acclaimed designers like Black Coffee and Stoned Cherrie lack the strong network structure within the industry itself that would propagate them to world status. Quoting a few people, he notes:
"Africa's contribution to global fashion remains in fabric, texture and prints that are often referenced by global designers (like JPG above and below). Africa has made no real contribution beyond this."
"Although the ethnic tradition influencing international fashion has some appeal at the moment, like many other trends it will come and go and the African influence will disappear."
"A designer cannot, on their own, just go into the global market; it is something that needs building."
Three things stand out for me in this article:
1. We are packaging our identity and selling it to the world as fashion. Hit or miss?
2. Outside of our 'exotic' fabrics, prints and textiles, there is nothing that stands out about African fashion - in general. We do have 'contemporary' designers like Black Coffee, who ironically, have caught the eye of the western fashion industry.
3. Once the world has known and grew tired of our fabulous 'ankara' fabrics, that will be it. There has to be more dynamism in the African fashion industry in order for us to make a 'meaningful contribution' to the global fashion industry.
ANKARA HEADSCARVES JPG FALL RTW 2010