The African beauty and fashion industry express African ethnic traditions and cultural heritage through adornment and ornamentation. Fashion is a significant part of the African culture; it shows how diverse Africans are through adornments, local jewellery, and traditional attires.
The most scintillating and impressive trends in African beauty comes from a variety of African tribes; the combination of different tribes in just one attire. Africa accounts for a small percentage of the global fashion industry worth USD 1.5 trillion along with the sub-Saharan apparel and footwear market which is worth USD 31 billion. Europe is the main dominator of the global world fashion industry.
Africa still remains important today because its fashion industry stays true to its various cultural heritages. Although, today, African fashion industry is being influenced by the western culture. Africa’s fashion and beauty industry goes way beyond its culture and pattern designs and ornaments, it is also a tool for driving the continent’s future and providing solutions which target issues like youth unemployment and slow economic growth of certain African countries.
Nowadays, Africa’s fashion has gained a lot of attention from the other part of the world and some of Africa’s fashion ideas are being incorporated into their respective fashion industries. A new generation of African designers with wider Diaspora has risen over the last decade and have contributed immensely to the development of the continent’s fashion industry. They are fusing the African culture with the European culture together and in the process are attracting a wider wave of global interest into the fashion industry.
In the next five years, the African industry is expected to be worth USD 15.5 billion as the continent’s economies grow. In light of this, local and foreign investors have seized the opportunity to invest as they have seen the blooming potential of the industry.
Recently, the media has also played a major role in this recognition of this industry by broadcasting the continent’s local fashion shows, exhibitions and other television shows and media outlet that expresses the African fashion industry. Most African designers also feature in international fashion shows, exhibitions, and other fashion functions. Some of these designers have even been selected to participate at the Africa Fashion Week, New York and the success of these designers on the international platform have promoted the recognition and credibility of the African fashion industry.
Africa’s population is also a driving factor in the development of the continent’s fashion industry. The United Nations have estimated the continent’s population to rise to 4 billion by 2100 in relation to the current natality rate. This means a larger market for the industry; who better to patronize the continent’s fashion industry than its own indigenes? Also, job opportunities emerge for these designers to meet the large market demands. With these facts, Investors, both local and foreign have seized on this opportunity to leverage on.
Africa is also noted as the continent with the youngest population. Approximately 200 million of the continent’s populace is within the youth bracket, between ages (15- 24). This means that the fashion industry comprises of modern day youths that are current on the latest fashion trends; they have younger minds and better fashion ideas that are not obsolete. These youths also promote the brand through social media platforms and wear them to different occasion bringing recognition as well. The fact that the youth play a major role in the continent’s fashion industry is a major point of interest for investors because they’ll have a larger shell life for creativity than the older aged designers and fashion influencers.
The African fashion industry is rising fast among the ranks of the global fashion industry. Investors know that the continent’s maximum potential is yet to be materialized and with the current rate of development, it’s only a matter of time before the industry becomes a threat to the European Fashion Industry.
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Some selected readings
Brown, A. (n.d.) Africa’s Fashion Industry: Challenges, Opportunities. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from the Web
Jennings, H. (2015, April.) A brief history of African Fashion. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from the Web
Saka, H. (2012, May 29.) African Beauty, Threatened By Western Civilization. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from the Web
Aderibigbe, N. (2014, September 8.) Why the world should invest in African Fashion. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from the Web