Last year, when Vogue Italia’s Franca Sozzani (Editor-in-Chief) visited West Africa, many wondered what her purpose there was all about. Well, the guesses and speculations are finally over. On May 4th, 2012, Vogue Italia in conjunction with Yoox.com launched an online retail project titled ‘Discovered in Africa by Vogue Italia exclusively on Yoox.com.’
The project has created excitement among designers in Africa’s fashion community. We are just as excited but we are not big fans of the use of the word, “discovered.” We think it patronizing and a play on stereotypes. As a matter of fact, there is no “discovery” here. Sozzani sees a business opportunity on the continent to expand Vogue Italia’s reach through African fashion. She has selected African luxury brand designers that have showcased their works globally at prestigious fashion weeks, alongside prominent Western designers. This is about the business of fashion and Africa’s ability to help Vogue and Yoox.com increase their bottom line, regardless of how it is couched.
We are glad to see the well curated list of designers including Nigeria’s Lanre Da Silva Ajayi (LDA). LDA showed at New York Fashion Week at the last Arise Magazine event last year. She combines patterns, prints, exquisite and even traditional fabrics to produce day wear, evening wear, gowns and cocktail dresses that bridge the gap between African and Western. LDA has been featured in various African and international media including Ladybrille.com, Vogue Black, ARISE Magazine, Daily Mail, Essence.com, WWD.com, ITN News, NTN24.com, ABCNews.com, Reuters UK and Centric/BET.
Check out some of her designs below, courtesy the photos she provided us. Also expect to see the Vogue Italia and Yoox.com project mentioned in your May 2012 copy of Vogue magazine. Visit Yoox.com here.