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.
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.