In Africa which country is more fashionable

Fashionable cross-border commutersHow European and African scenes mix

"I presented my label time4africa at Adama Paris in Dakar in 2014. And the fashion shows at which the media were present were already at an elite level, in a wonderful hotel on the beach. Wonderful stage, wonderful catwalk, everything perfectly organized, like Fashion shows just happen. "

Says Imma Baumgartner, founder of the time4africa label. Its style is based on Austrian traditional dresses, i.e. dirndls, which, however, are made from colorful and diverse patterned African fabrics. Imma Baumgartner cultivates her long-standing relationship with the black continent. In the 1980s she lived and worked in Tanzania for a year. Later she mainly toured West Africa.

In December she was in Paris for Black Fashion Week, this time as a reporter for an internet fashion channel. The Black Fashion Week represents the African fashion scene in the broadest sense. In terms of glamor, your events do not want to be inferior to the western world.

"I remember classical music that ended Saturday evening for the parade of Eliette Le Superb, who comes from Guadeloupe - well, the ethno element is not what accompanies Black Fashion Week."

Stage for designers from Africa

Black Fashion and Black Fashion Week represent what Adama Paris has created, namely a stage for designers who mostly come from Africa or the African diaspora. And who have no way of getting a stage at normal Fashion Weeks, for whatever reason.

"You shouldn't forget that appearing at a fashion week in Paris, which is not now called Black Fashion Week, is associated with high costs. Here, Adama Paris tries to be extremely accommodating to the designers. And sponsors the entire event finance."

More than ten years ago, the Senegalese diplomatic daughter Adama Paris gave up her banking career and started hosting Dakar Fashion Week. Several offshoots in Paris, Montreal and Salvador da Bahia emerged from this project. With the designer Alphadi, a Tuareg from Niger, another patron of black fashion has established himself. His fashion festival in Mali should have taken place for the tenth time in November, but had to be canceled due to the threat of terrorism.

Fashion should create identity

On the other hand, there are fashion weeks in many African metropolises.
Adama Paris produces fashion programs and casting shows on television in her West African homeland: models who use bleaching cream are excluded. The fashion should strengthen the female self-confidence and convey the African identity.

"The hairstyle of African women is characterized by the fact that the hair is artfully braided. This is then exaggerated in these shows. In the same way, blonde, light-skinned models are given these African tower hairstyles."

Imma Baumgartner's Austrian-African traditional costumes in 2014 in Dakar were just as exotic. While the dirndls by time4africa are made entirely of brightly colored African fabrics, the traditional colors and patterns appear at most as a visual accent in the shows of the African fashion designers. This season, completely black outfits are trendy. The great potential of traditional handicrafts has not yet reached the structures of the international fashion industry, which can be a curse or a blessing.

"Well, I don't know that there is African fashion in this mass production like other fashion products. It is made by local tailors. And there is a little variation everywhere, it looks the same, but maybe the little detail is a little different."

Without international marketing, African fashion cannot develop any real market value. Imma Baumgartner reports on an improvised sale of the catwalk dresses at Black Fashion Week - a South African designer sold her his haute couture dress there for 100 euros and was very satisfied with it: he couldn't have got more at home. At least he could be present at the show. Abroad, it often happens that the collections are presented in the absence of their creators because the designers do not get a visa.

Positive impulses for Africa are welcome

But if it is up to people like Adama Paris, fashion shows and fashion television should set positive impulses in Africa, convey the beauty of different cultures and open up new perspectives for young people. At any rate, Dakar Fashion Week is not just about style, but also about joie de vivre, reports Imma Baumgartner:

"The last evening in Dakar is always in a district, a stage is set up on the street, the show takes place on the street. And 10,000 people take part, as much as there is space. And there is celebration and dancing. And it is a huge event. "