by Rachel Ogbu
A new report shows just how Africa is making an entry into the global fashion arena, with quality handwork and artistic creativity. The May edition of Uomo Vogue is an all-Africa magazine with images of beauty and grace.
New York Times’ Suzy Menkes says the key word for an overall résumé of changes in attitude and perception is “rebranding.”
Inside the magazine features an interview with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon advocating a move for Africa from bad news toward positive thinking.
In the magazine, the UN chief says:
“Africa does not need charity — Africa needs investment and partnership. Joining forces with civil society and the private sector, including non-traditional players, like the fashion industry, has become indispensable. Sustainable development is my top priority.”
Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia, which dedicated this month’s men ’s wear issue to Africa, has a personal commitment that helps to dispel any idea that rebranding Africa via fashion is a gimmick or that it might sit uncomfortably beside the deep-set issues of poverty, disease, and gender, NYT reports.
“All the pictures are made in a glamorous way — there is nothing sad, trashy, or poor,” Ms. Sozzani said. “People may say that Vogue does not want to talk about sickness and poverty, but if we can give an uplifting image, it is helping people who would not have considered Africa at all.”
The concept of small projects leading to an upgraded image includes not just people, but places: the lush beauty of the continent and its allure as a tourist destination.
It also showcases the cinematic creativity of Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry.
In addition to the idea of encouraging investment in the creative professions, Ms. Sozzani hopes that her joyous Vogue celebration will help to bring a shift in attitude.