No matter how more educated the world is, even with a bulk load of information on the internet, people are still ignorant on some issues. One of the issues that people are still ignorant about is racism. It has become a touchy topic due to the oppressive history, but racism is far from over. The apparent nature and existence of racism are visible in many sectors and that includes the fashion industry.
For years, people have been fed with the perfect idea of a beautiful woman as one who is white, thin and has long silky hair. This idea is one that many ladies have tried their best to attain. To gain such, people go to the extreme just to be recognized as the ideal beauty dictated by the notable people in the fashion industry. The Western world is, therefore, bombarding the surrounding nations with the idea they want predominantly through the media.
We agree that a little has changed as the years have gone by. There are obviously more colored ladies on the runways but this cannot be all. Adding a few black models doesn’t mean that everything has automatically changed. Africans have to be aware that for real change to happen, we have to make personal efforts. Things being different for us is left in our hands.
The first and most important way is to promote our Africa. This rests on every person that is African. Make an effort to incorporate anything African in your fashion. We have struggling African designers trying to showcase our culture and heritage. Patronize those ones and leave the foreign luxury brand. That should be a once in a lifetime purchase (like Christmas or new year).
The best way for our fashion to be preserved is to organise fashion shows. This way, designers and fashion brands will get adequate exposure to the public. No one will buy if they don’t know about anyone. Right now, the most prominent fashion show is the Lagos Fashion and Design Week. We need more of those, in more state if possible. With that, people are more encouraged and inspired to take a risk and develop this skill of fashion.
In this diverse and multicultural nation, we live in, there are different forms that can be actualized in fashion. It is just left for us to identify and harness this. Every tribe has fashion akin to it and we should be proud of that. We can together show the world what we have to offer and therefore storm the international fashion marketplace.
Written by Nkem Ikeh
Images: ciaafrique.com, salutemag.com, fashionista.com