The Business of African Fashion in 2012: YEAR END REVIEW #Africanfashion

Happy New Year Ladybrille Magazine

Happy New Year 2013 - LadybrilleThank you to our Ladybrille community i.e. each and everyone of you for a beautiful year. We turned five (5) years old this 2012 and throughout the year, we focused our energies on celebrating and inspiring you with our brilliant women of the months features. Please be sure to visit our powerful features and celebrate YOU, your journey, your success, through the eyes and stories of these remarkable women.

We also focused on building a community of fashion and entertainment minded entrepreneurs and industry professionals, in response to the kinds of articles we observed best resonated with you all. We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the numerous fashion weeks across Africa, ground breaking business deals in Africa’s fashion circles, music, African cinema/films, and entertainment news.

We say goodbye to you for 2012 as we take our break and polish our editorial calendar for 2013. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!! Have a great New Year’s celebration and bring in the new year, strong!

And just before we say our final goodbye for the year, here are 10 Business of African fashion trends in 2012 worth revisiting all over again!

  1. Nigeria cements itself as a  respected destination and fashion hub in Africa.  Thanks to Arise Magazine and Style House Files, Nigeria cements its place as a fashion hub in Africa. Style House Files took it a step further by creating extremely well vetted/curated content for the local and global fashion industry with its choice of designers. (It also secured the attendance of powerful fashion media personality Suzy Menkes and seasoned Italian buyer(s) at the event).
  2.  Western Media Showed a Huge interest in the Business of African Fashion. Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair Italy, Harper’s Bazaar Italy, among many, were all publications that showed real interest in featuring and discussing the business of African fashion. Vogue Italia took it a step further by launching its “Discovered in Africa” page on the online portal Yoox.com which featured a few prominent African designers selling their products.
  3. Renowned Media personality Suzy Menkes Places the Business of African Fashion Front and Center with her Stamp of Approval. The annual International Herald Tribune (IHT) Luxury Conference, hosted by Suzy Menkes this 2012, was all the rave, in large part because it placed a huge spotlight on the Business of African fashion. Menkes who also made an appearance in Lagos, Nigeria on the front rows of MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week, showed genuine interest in Africa when she had the likes of Omoyemi Akerele of Style House Files and Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe of Africa Fashion International (Producers of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa, among many shows) present and actively participating as speakers at the event.
  4. There was an increase in Fashion Weeks/Fashion Shows. From Los Angeles to Germany and across Africa, we saw or heard of newly launched fashion production events focused on Africa. For existing fashion weeks such as Africa Fashion Week London, we saw the event cement itself as a go to ready to wear market for African fashion. We would like to see reduced, well curated/consolidated fashion weeks that attract buyers and media so it is worthwhile for the designers who participate in them. It should also help streamline and assure many of these designers do not get lost in the pages, with no coverage, because of the sheer amount of fashion weeks back to back across Africa, on the tail of  important fashion weeks in key fashion markets in the West.
  5. There was an Increase in Designer Owned E-commerce Websites. African designers embraced and launched their own e-commerce websites. We expect this trend to continue in 2013.
  6. There was an Increase in more polished campaigns/look books. It seems designers got the memo to step up their fashion campaigns and they met the challenge with a lot more creativity this 2012. The packaging of African fashion in 2012 never looked so good.
  7. There was a Decrease in Blogs and Bloggers Covering News Stories on African fashion.There was an overall decrease in African owned fashion blogs and bloggers covering African fashion. Even some of our favorite African fashion websites were very limited in their coverage and some just went hiatus on us for 2012. On the converse, we saw an increased use of social media platforms such as Instagram to communicate African fashion to many. Indeed the #Africanfashion hash tag on twitter stayed busy all year round. African fashion brands will have to partner with blogs and bloggers, in meaningful co-branded/sponsorship opportunities, to provide more incentive for continued and sustained coverage.
  8. African Designers Entered Co-branding/Partnerships/ Licensing Deals with Prominent Western Brands. From Duro Olowu who has a partnership/licensing deal with JC Penny  to Jewel by Lisa’s partnership/Licensing deal with L’Oreal Italy, African fashion showed it is ready to step into the world of Fashion law to broker serious deals for success. We expect to see more of these kinds of opportunities in 2013. Designers, be sure to look before you leap with the licensing and partnership contracts you will sign.
  9. Jewel by Lisa was probably the most buzzed about African label in 2012. Throughout the year, there was a consistent mention of one American celebrity after the other rocking a Jewel by Lisa design on red carpets in Hollywood. This continued visibility has created even more value for the label and we think we will see the label fly in 2013.
  10. African Fashion Makes a Big Splash at the World’s Largest Department Store, Selfridges UK. Thanks again to the work of Style House Files out of Nigeria and the financial backing and influence of Guaranty Trust Bank Nigeria, both Nigeria and African fashion/fashion designers rubbed shoulders with the most prominent design names in the world, at Selfridges.

Thank you all for your loyalty and support. We will resume our coverage of Africa’s fashion and entertainment industries in the first week of January 2013.

God bless.

Yours Truly,
(editor@ladybrille.com)
Uduak  Oduok, Esq.
Editor-in-Chief

Photo courtesy 3Dwallpaper