Prêt-À-Poundo: Political And Ethical Fashion In Paris

*Afrodesiac Worldwide (Ghana)

While we were warming up for New York Fashion Week in the Big Apple, "Paris was burning"...

From September 6th to September 9th, Paris hosted the 10th edition of the Ethical Fashion Show, this exhibition brings together international ready-to-wear labels (womenswear, menswear and children’s) and designers who produce creative and stylish fashion, guided by a respect for man and the environment. The venue chosen for this event was the Carroussel du Louvre. It’s a mecca for Parisian fashion, where designers’ shows and catwalks take place. The exhibition reflects the spirit of the times, presenting contemporary and imaginative fashion for buyers on the lookout for labels that promote an ethical stance and sustainable development, without forfeiting style. From early September, Paris, the capital of fashion, draws major brands, purchasing groups, department stores, retail chains, independent retailers and boutiques from every continent, which are all endeavouring to establish new business contacts.This is an excellent platform for selling and marketing to all the professionals in the fashion sector including buyers for boutiques, department stores, designers and journalists from the international press. But also, it's a perfect place for launching innovative concepts and developing new businesses with a strategy of meaningful value (fair, sustainable fashion in organic, natural or recycled materials, manufacture with social commitment and benefitting from regional skills).

I didn't get the chance to make it to Paris because I was in New York for Fashion Week. However, I had an interview with a representative from the Ethical Fashion Show, Mickaël Cotte, about this great event which is welcoming a lot of African designers and/or brands.

*Ndimby (Madagascar)

PAP: The Ethical Fashion Show is an international exhibition which represents almost all the continents. What can we say about African brands and designers?

MC: The designers from the continent (East to West Africa) are present at the Ethical Fashion in large numbers this year. They are full of creativity and innovation and want to attract European buyers. We noticed the emergence of a generation of designers who marries beautifully "Heritage Fashion" and Urban Culture like Della and Afrodesiac Worldwide Collection from Ghana (image at the top), Flip Flop from Kenya, Doreen Mashika from Tanzania.

PAP: Could you give us the brands and/or African designers presents since the Ethical Fashion Show started ?

MC: There were many... Just to mention few examples...I would say Ayman Ayssi, Eric Raisina from Madagascar, Oumou Sy, François I, Meité Awa from Senegal, and many others.

PAP: Who attended this year? Can you explain to us what their specialties are and how they are distinguished? Why did you choose them?

MC: Oumou Sy, François I, Awa Meité with a beautiful exhibition of cotton. And also all the other designers mentioned above will be here this year. They are already established in their respective countries as creative talent.

*Awa Meité (Senegal)

PAP: Can you give us a taste of the innovations from this year?

MC: Flip Flop is doing a remarkable job with plastic sandals recycling. This is a great innovative work. Doreen Mashika is again working with African prints but this time she added embroidery with sequins.

*Flip Flop (Kenya)

*Doreen Mashika (Tanzania)

PAP: The Ethical Fashion Show has a high profile, what are the economic and business impacts? What is the impact of the show on all these brands and designers?

MC: Buyers, department stores, designers or interior designers who are seeking to develop a partnership with an African designer will come to the show and meet the African designers. The exhibition provides them a media exposure and also a connection with the buyers, but also allows them to become familiar with the market outside of Africa.

PAP: I had the opportunity to read the attendees list on previous editions. Big names, fashion houses, and prestigious magazines came to the Ethical Fashion Show, does that sometimes result in collaborations?

MC: Yes, with La Redoute (French Fashion online) and fashion houses. These seek designers with a particular expertise in developing collections and collaborations.


A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.