• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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African fashion community discuss strategies for global impact at Guzangs event

A recent gathering hosted by Guzangs, a fashion platform supporting the African fashion community, brought together industry leaders to explore how African fashion can achieve global recognition. The event, held at Lala’s Lagos in Victoria Island, featured designers, enthusiasts, influencers, and celebrities from Nigeria, the UK, and the US.

Discussions centered on collaboration as a critical factor for success. Guests highlighted the potential of collaboration across Nigeria’s creative sectors, with Idelle Taye, Guzang’s founder, emphasising the importance of incorporating technology and fostering collaboration to bridge the gap between creativity and commercial success.

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According to 2024 insights from Oberlo, the global fashion/apparel market is expected to grow in 2025 as it’s forecast to increase by 2.79 percent to $1.84 trillion, before rising another 2.72 percent to $1.89 trillion in 2026.

Statista also shows in their 2023 data that Africa’s fashion market is projected to grow at a rate of 12.14 percent between 2023 and 2027, reaching a market volume of US$10.12 billion by 2027. This significant growth underscores the vast potential for African fashion to become a major player on the world stage.

Taye stressed the importance of designers staying true to their unique identities while scaling their businesses. She explained the sentiment of collaborating across sectors, believing this approach will allow African fashion to flourish while retaining its distinct character.

Guzang’s role, according to Taye, is to facilitate platforms and programs that foster collaboration among designers from various African regions, ultimately strengthening the continent’s unified fashion identity.

Inclusivity was another key theme. Taye suggested that a compelling brand story is essential for attracting customers. A strong narrative combined with a clear vision will resonate with potential consumers and drive brand loyalty.

The discussion also explored parallels between the global success of Afrobeats music and the potential for African fashion. Antoinette Njombua-Fombad, a Dallas, Texas-based fashion enthusiast, pointed to the marketability of African fabrics in Western markets, urging Nigerians to increase their efforts in promoting their craft internationally.

Similarly, Nollywood actor Deyemi Okanlawan highlighted the power of collaboration, citing his own experience where working with a fashion designer contributed to his movie’s success as the highest-grossing Nollywood film of 2024.

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The conversation regarding Afrobeats’ influence extended to the potential for celebrity endorsements. While some attendees advocated for aligning with top Afrobeats artists to elevate African fashion’s profile, others argued for a more inclusive approach, suggesting designers should broaden their scope of collaborations beyond just A-list celebrities.

By fostering collaboration, staying true to their identities, embracing inclusivity, and leveraging strategic partnerships, African fashion designers are well-positioned to make a significant impact on the global fashion landscape.