" Do with the other and free themselves of ethnocentrism, such for me are the values that must motivate the fashion today, especially in this context of global health crisis ", writes Emmanuelle Courreges, the initiator of the agency and the platform for the creation of african Lago54, created three years ago, that provides that beautiful showcase what is Blooming Africa fashion designers african. This Parisian, born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, has enabled creators of the continent to enjoy an exhibition outside of their borders. Among them, Imane Ayissi, we do this almost more. In January 2020, the stylist of cameroon became the first person from sub-saharan Africa to integrate the official calendar of haute couture in Paris. Its stylish dresses anoblies of obom, traditional fabric of cameroon created from the bark reverently extracted a tree from the forests, have attracted the attention of the fashion press international.
This is by combining craft techniques, traditional and environmentally-friendly use of textiles with ecological and local, recycling, and sense of aesthetics that the creators supported by the journalist training manage to seduce resellers, today anxious to rethink the mode by betting on the brands involved. This is the case of the very chic concept store in paris shopping Centre, which will host, from 25 may to 8 June, seven claws represented by Lago54, all manufactured on the continent : Cameroon, South Africa, via Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia or Lesotho.
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Combination of recycled Asha Eleven. © Lago54
upcycling, an ancestral way of life for Africa
Show that you can eat less but better without being oblivious of the style, such is the ambition of this operation, called Blooming Africa. A reflection that began well before the health crisis, linked to the Covid-19 – which has shown the limitations of the mode and industrialized on a large scale. Because Emmanuelle Courreges remains convinced that the marks in africa have a card to play in the creation of sustainable. "Upcycling (NOTE : the fact of recycling the material existing and sublimate) is not a trend in Africa, it is an ancestral way of life ", points out the one who spent the first twenty years of his life in West Africa.
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The importance of the social aspect
But it is also through the social aspect that these artists undertake. "Today, we care about the traceability of clothing. We want to know who produces them and under what conditions, " says Emmanuelle Courreges. Studio 189, brand co-founded by the Ghanéo-Ivorian settled in New York Abrima Erwiah – finalist of the program Lexus Sustainable Fashion Initiative of the Federation of american style –, is part of this approach. "We create more than clothing, our company is social. We work with communities of young seamstresses based in Cape Coast, Ghana, and revalorisons their craft ", welcomes the entrepreneur. This last also works with artisans in Mali who work with the indigo dyes according to methods respectful of the environment-based non-chemical products.
Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson, founders of Studio 189. © Lago54
" In this context pandemic, it is even more important to know who and what is behind the manufacturing of the clothes that we wear, by opting for projects whose production chain is virtuous ", says she. Same observation on the side of LemLem, the label created by the model, ethiopian international fame Liya Kebede, whose creations are woven from the pattern of traditional tibeb. "We want to prove that fashion can be philanthropic ", claims to be a top model, who has created, through its brand, a foundation to help the artisans to become more professional, and access to maternal health care. The artistic director wishes to " demonstrate to customers that their consumption is responsible, as it has a social and environmental impact ". In this period where the need to reconnect with the simplicity, nature and human beings has never been so urgent, these african creators prove that they definitely have their place in the mode of tomorrow.
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* Blooming Africa curated by Lago54. From 25 may to 8 June at Centre commercial, 2 rue de Marseille, Paris 11th.