Vogue’s First Fashion Week in Africa Highlights Renewed Interest in the Continent

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Mass-market retailers like Aldo, and indie labels like Boxing Kitten and Suno have celebrated the trend too even as Burberry’s Spring 2012 collection featured ankara-reminiscent prints in contemporary styles that would fit in the closet (nevermind the budget) of the same customer who would patronize African designer brands like Duaba Serwa, Christie Brown, Jewel by Lisa, and Kiki Clothing.

Accra-based designer Titi Ademola, who owns Kiki Clothing, welcomes the newbies seeking a new market in Africa. Once a newbie herself, Ademola says she left America where she worked in Burberry’s Atlanta office helping style clients like Elton John and Toni Braxton because she wanted to mine the immense opportunity available on the Continent. Raised in Nigeria, the London College of Fashion grad says, “I always knew I wanted to start a business in Africa.”

Not surprisingly, Ademola who has spent the past nine years building Kiki Clothing is enthusiastic about all the recent global attention. “It’s exciting to see Jewel by Lisa patronized by Cat Sadler of E! News.”

Ghanaian womenswear designer Nelly Hagan-Aboagye echoes Ademola’s excitement. Scheduled to show her line Duaba Serwa on GFDW’s opening day, she believes the platform will not only help her make a deeper connection with her customer, but set a new standard for the African fashion industry to follow. “It’s going to set the pace for all the other platforms that are springing up in Ghana.”

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