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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.

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Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.

EXPERIENCE 100 WOMEN 2020

The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

100 women 2020

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Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs

We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

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Davido's Fiancé, Chioma Rowland, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Nigerian musician made the announcement via a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

Chioma Rowland, the fiancé of star Nigerian musician Davido, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The artist shared the news via Instagram on Friday, writing that he and 31 people on his team decided to get tested after returning back to Lagos from abroad. While he and the rest of his team received negative results, Rowland's test came back positive.

"Unfortunately, my fiancé's results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby," wrote Davido. He added that they both showed no systems, but would be self-isolating as a safety measure.

"We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days," he added. "I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!"

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Juls Drops New Music Video for 'Soweto Blues' Featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis

The Ghanaian-British producer heads to South Africa for the music video for the amapiano-inspired track.

Heavyweight Ghanaian-British producer Juls shares his first offering of 2020, and it does not disappoint.

The producer enlists South African music star Busiswa and London's Jaz Karis for the jazz-inflected "Soweto Blues," which also boasts elements of South Africa's dominant electronic sound, Amapiano. The slow-burner features airy vocals from Karis who features prominently on the 3-minute track, while Busiswa delivers a standout bridge in her signature high-energy tone.

"The song dubbed "Soweto Blues" is a song depicting the love, sadness and fun times that Soweto tends to offer its people," read the song's YouTube description. The video premiered earlier today on The Fader. "The energy is amazing, the people are lovely and I've found a second home — especially the vibrancy of Soweto," the producer told The Fader about his trip to Soweto for the making of the video "Jaz Karis is singing a love song, which is symbolic of my new love of Soweto and I'm honoured to have worked with Busiswa whom I have been a fan of for a long time."

Fittingly, the music video sees Juls traveling through the township, taking in its sights and energy. The video, directed by Nigel Stöckl, features striking shots of the popular area and its skilled pantsula dancers.

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