Five years ago, any event with the moniker "Black" preceding it would have been hushed away in Paris. But now, after a successful Miss Black France, the introduction of new "urban" television networks and dozens of new blogs, Black has become the new crème du jour. "For me, this is something normal." Haute Couture designer Aphadi, originally from Mali, agrees. "It's time for the Black people to be here.
After ten years of leading the hugely successful Dakar Fashion Week, Senegalese designer Adama Ndiaye, founder of the Adama Paris line, knows a good opportunity when she sees one."Paris is the capital of fashion. It is so important for designers to show here," she said. However, recognizing the rarity for an African designer to be shown in the mainstream Paris fashion week, Ndiaye took matters into her own hands. For the first time ever, Paris welcomed Black Fashion Week.
"It's a mix of everything. Over fifteen designers from Egypt, Martinique, Senegal, the United States... That's what I like about fashion," Ndiaye said.
Everyone has this interest in Africa now. Petrol, precious minerals. Now, fashion. Africa is making its mark. Hundreds of fashion enthusiasts, supporters and buyers squeezed into the sold out event to see Africa's response to what should be watched this upcoming season.
Senegalese cultural minister and renowned musician, Youssou N'Dour was one of the VIPs in attendance. In many of the collections, an ongoing "princess" trend was noted. Corsets were constructed with Dutch wax fabrics. Intricate piping intersected bold prints. It was clear, though, that most of the designers agreed that it was metallics that were going to make an inroad this season. This fashion event highlighted more traditional, cherished African assets.