Don’t you just hate it when some Westerners make statements such as ‘Oh you from Africa?’ or ‘I went to Africa’ ignoring the fact that ‘Africa’ is a continent with 54 countries. The cultural appropriation is even worse when it comes to the fashion industry.
On person who obviously cannot stand all the misconception is London based author and journalist Hannah Azieb Pool who is originally from Eritrea.
Her book Fashion Cities Africa which was exhibited at the Brighton Museum in the UK dissects what goes down in the vibrant African fashion cities; Nairobi, Lagos, Casablanca, and Johannesburg
The book apparently is ‘filled with interviews of leading African fashion designers, stylists, and commentators, alongside hundreds of exclusive street-style images’
Now hold up, I have not personally read the book yet, but when I read an interesting article by the author today on UK’s The Guardian (a digital news platform) I knew I had to share it with you.
Check out a few excerpts below:
”The lazy shorthand for such a diverse continent, “tribal” this, “safari” that, has to stop. With a population of over 1bn, there are hundreds of vibrant African cities, each with different influences, inspirations and priorities, all reflected by their own designers. Countries vary, cities vary, neighbourhoods vary. There are subcultures within subcultures. Given the centuries of creative output the continent has given us, it’s time to challenge the notion that a piece made by a designer in Dakar is the same as one made in Djibouti.”
”But rather than name-checking their inspirations properly and telling the world exactly where (and who) they borrowed inspiration from, western-based designers have a missionary zeal for “out of Africa” cliches. They also have an annoying habit of claiming to have discovered new prints or silhouettes while hanging out with the Maasai. But they no more discovered shuka blankets (which originated in Scotland) or “African” wax print (a Dutch import), than Prof Livingstone discovered Victoria Falls.”
If you want to get your hands on the new book, it is available on Intellect Press for $28.5/£20
For more info on Hannah watch her TedX talk below:
Spotted at TheGuardian.com