Senegalese designer, Adama Amanda Ndiay stopped by CNN recently, revealing the reason she founded Black Fashion Week and about her new TV venture aimed to promote models and designers across Africa.
The designer and owner of brand Adama Paris – whose garments are stocked in stores around the world, from Tokyo to London and New York – founded Dakar Fashion Week 12 years ago, and told CNN that following its success, she felt compelled to start Black Fashion Week, having been exposed to the industry’s lack of diversity.
“I was really frustrated. When I looked around there were so few black models and I felt like I wasn’t belonging there.
I thought it was right … to try to do something to help my own people and to get more exposure. It was not saying “them, they were wrong,” it was saying, ‘OK, we are here.”
In 2010, Black Fashion Week began in Czech Republic and Adama held editions in Paris, Montreal, Geneva and Bahia, which Adama told CNN was;
“…also a statement (to) the fashion industry, ‘stop this discrimination, black is beautiful.’ I am sick and tired of seeing only skinny blonde girls and not black women in the runway.”
Though the fashion week has also received criticism in the past, with some believing the initiative works against black professionals by pigeonholing them into a category, rather than merging them with an industry that should hold no barriers, Adama’s plight continues – most recently in the form of a new TV channel with a programme she describes as being similar to America’s Next Top Model.
The designer told CNN;
“We wanted really young girls and (to) give them (an) opportunity to go outside Senegal to model in Africa – South Africa, Angola (and) also in Europe. This is going to be a big deal because it is probably going to start their career.”
But it’s not just models Adama seeks to promote, but also designers from across the continent.
“I want them to see us in Nigeria, Ghana, Dakar. That was the purpose of this channel. I want people to see we have great designers. And that’s what I’m going to show – Africans wearing African clothes. Fashion made in Africa by Africans.”
We look forward to the result of all Adama’s hard work, but in the meantime you can read her interview in full, here.
Image source: Edition.cnn.com, Urbanfroufrou.com