Africa as a Hub for Fashion Inspiration

The Forbes U-30 Summit gets a vivid portrayal of Africa’s creative renaissance where tradition meets modernity in a seamless fusion of style and substance and is convinced that breaking into the Oscars and the Cannes is the way to reach the wider world. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports


At the Forbes Under 30 Summit last week, a panel of visionary fashion designers shared their insights into the rich tapestry of African culture and its profound influence on global fashion trends.


As the discussion led by Mboko Basiami of Glotto, Tia Adeola of Tia Adeola and CEO of BEFRAN L da Group Beatriz Franck unfolded, attendees were treated to a vivid portrayal of Africa’s creative renaissance where tradition meets modernity in a seamless fusion of style and substance.


“For centuries Africa has always been a hub of inspiration,” said Basiami.

“If you look at Picasso and Roberto Cavalli, they’ve always come to our beautiful continent to not only shoot creative editorial work but also to get a lot of insights and inspiration from our bold textures and patterns.

A beautiful evolution

“Over the years, we’ve seen a beautiful evolution of not only us as African designers claiming our narrative but also pushing it in the most authentic way.”

She noted that the need to include and use local creative directors, stylists and models when brands come to Africa to shoot campaigns. Such inclusivity, she added, would enhance the beautiful telescope of different insights and attributes that make it unique.

Asked what it would take for African fashion to be respected with its own narrative on a global scale, New York-based Nigerian, Adeola, said Africa already has its respect because global brands are using traditional Nigerian fashion for their products.

Stores in Europe and America

She added that the biggest thing would be to create the same opportunities, spaces and infrastructure for the young designers who are at home but have the same talent and skills to be able to create and go global.

“People often think that with fashion, you need a huge capital outlay to start,” she said. “But I just want to encourage everyone that you actually don’t. You just need a good quality product. You don’t need a huge budget for a campaign but a friend that can model your product and get yourself out there using social media.”

With plans to expand her business operations to France and the rest of Europe, Franck said for Africa to be respected on a global scale, the industry in Africa should develop more and open stores in Europe and America.

The stars and the presenters

“We need to dress the stars, the presenters and be in the Oscars, in the Cannes, in all the events,” she said.

“They need to see that we create the best because all the stars consume European and American fashion. We need to prove to them that they can consume our fashion in Africa. We will get there.”

By placing a spotlight on African fashion and ensuring that cultural narratives are infused into designs, the panelists also underscored Africa’s growing prominence on the global fashion stage, affirming its status as a beacon of creativity and innovation for generations to come.