On the 4th of may 2012, Vogue Italia and yoox.com's project (Discovered in Africa by Vogue Italia exclusively on yoox.com) came live and opened for everyone to shop from the beautiful collections by clicking away on yoox.com. The 10 African designers selected by Franca Sozanni, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia are: LemLem, Koshie .O., Kofi Ansah, Tiffany Amber, LDA, Le Collanedi Betta, BraghetteRossw, Crea, Sabahar and Global Mamas
Le Collane Di Betta
Franca Sozzani is a Fashion for Development Goodwill Ambassador and a promoter for the development of fashion in emerging countries. Fashion for Development initiative 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.
Over recent months, Sozzani visited countries in different parts of Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya to create a network of small and medium-size businesses working in fashion in Africa. In Nigeria, we give kudos to Mr Kola Karim, CEO of Shoreline Energy International a well meaning business man who facilitated for Nigerian designers LDA & Tiffany Amber to be part of the project.
The “Discovered in Africa” project is in collaboration with Italian online fashion retail store yoox.com. Both Vogue Italia and yoox.com have managed to raise awareness of young talents, who might otherwise have remained unknown, and provide them with sales opportunities.
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.
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), who 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 LemLem 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 Crea 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 Collanedi Betta.
The project will be presented by yoox.com in conjunction with the May edition of Vogue. Federico Marchetti Founder & CEO of Yoox Group said, “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.”