Nigerian fashion brand Lanre DaSilva Ajayi can now be bought on Italian fashion retail giant’s website Yoox.com. This was as a result of Vogue Italia and yoox.com's project (Discovered in Africa by Vogue Italia exclusively on yoox.com) and Franca Sozzani’s recent visit to Nigeria and Ghana earlier in January 2012.
This project is Vogue Italia's “Discovered in Africa”, an initiative that supports African fashion. The nine other designers selecyed for this project are: Super model Liya Kebede’s Lem Lem, Koshie .O., Kofi Ansah, Tiffany Amber, Le Collane di Betta, Braghette Rossw, Crea, Sabahar and Global Mamas.
According to news on Vogue.it website:
“Fashion for Development is an initiative that promotes development in emerging countries through fashion. The project started in 1996 thanks to the work of Bibi Russel, the former Bangladeshi model who launched a development campaign in the textile sector – with the help of Unesco – specifically to help female workers free themselves from poverty.
Franca Sozzani has been chosen as a Fashion for Development Goodwill Ambassador. Over recent months, I have helped Franca to create a network of small and medium-size businesses working in fashion in Africa. In collaboration with yoox.com, which is committed to supporting the project, we have managed to raise awareness of young talents, who might otherwise have remained unknown, and provide them with sales opportunities.
Global Mamas, for example, is a business in Ghana that provides work for groups of women creating clothes for women and children with hand-dyed and printed fabrics. Then there’s the designer Kofi Ansah, who, after working for many years in bespoke men’s tailoring in London’s Saville Row, decided to return to Ghana and set up an atelier giving young designers the opportunity to create small collections using traditional African fabrics but cut in a contemporary style.
In Nigeria, there are young talents like Tiffany Amber, who produces gorgeous small coats in wax-printed fabric, and lanre DaSilva Ajayi (LDA), which creates complete clothing collections in a unique style.
At Sabahar in Ethiopia, they cultivate silkworms. The silk is spun and woven by hand, and then coloured with natural vegetable dyes to produce beautiful scarves and shawls.
Again in Ethiopia, there are the beautiful creations of the top model Liya Kebede , who produces her Lem Lem clothing range in Addis Ababa. The young, colourful pieces are woven on traditional looms with the lightness of traditional Ethiopian gabi fabric.
Thanks to the intuition and creativity of Giovanna Villani of Braghette Rosse, the Mama’s Milk line of bags provides work for street children. They collect plastic milk bags, which are cleaned, cut into strips and then hand-woven on looms to create a unique material for bags and accessories. Then there’s the Made line of jewellery by Cristina Cisilino, who lives in Kenya and works with local craftsmen to produce delicate, luxurious pieces. Also in Kenya, Elisabetta Capolino has transformed local tradition into modern, cutting-edge designs with Le Collane di Betta.
The project will be presented yoox.com in conjunction with the May edition of Vogue. Federico Marchetti said of it: “It's a great project, because we have a great person supervising it (Franca Sozzani, Ed.). […] Our costumers will be very much in love with some of the designers' creations, because they are fantastic, simply fantastic.
Thanks to Fashion for Development, African design has a real opportunity to be seen and appreciated globally and small businesses have been given a new lease of life.”