Dakar: ‘Capital of Franco-African fashion
It may not have the allure of Paris or New York but Dakar in Senegal is quickly making a name for itself as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion stakes.
The 10th annual Dakar Fashion Week wrapped on Sunday, attracting an international audience to its showcase of African collections.
A decade after Senegalese designer Adama Ndiaye launched the first show, Dakar has now earned itself the unique title of being the capital of Franco-African fashion.
It’s an important milestone for a country few would associate with high-end fashion.
Fashion analyst Helen Jennings says this year’s event, attended by the “godfather of African fashion” Alphadi, cemented Dakar’s reputation.
Jennings, the editor of Arise, a London-based African fashion magazine, pointed to the important differences between English and French-inspired fashion on the continent.
“Anglophone Africa is much more westernized on the whole and therefore gets more international attention. While Francophone designers, although still very contemporary, do veer toward more traditional styles, especially the Senegalese boubou and north African kaftan.
“It made for a refreshing change to see these influences on the catwalk.”
However, she added that Dakar was by no means the capital of African fashion: “Without a doubt those capitals are Nigeria (host of Arise Magazine Fashion week) and South Africa (which runs Africa Fashion Week).”