Abidjan - The Afrik Fashion Show is back for a fifteenth edition focusing on the theme 'Made in Ivory Coast'. For the occasion, fifteen designers from four generations presented their latest collections.
A confident and charismatic, Fatim Sidimé made her entrance on the podium of the 'Palais des Congrès de l'Hôtel Ivoire', Saturday 6 November 2021. The model and muse of Afrik Fashion 15, and for several weeks, Abidjanese have seen her on all posters announcing the event in the economic capital.
After a forced break due to the pandemic, the Afrik Fashion Show is back for its fifteenth edition. This time, the 'Made in Côte d'Ivoire' is in the spotlight. Four generations of Ivorian designers will be showing during the evening. "It was important for us to choose the best in each generation and to put them together on the same podium. I'm taking this benchmark because Pathé'O, who started out in Ivory Coast, celebrated his 50th work anniversary this year. His experience and talent make him the most respected designers of any generation," Isabelle Anoh, creator of the Afrik Fashion Show, told FashionUnited.
For the occasion, the famous designer Pathé'O presented a collection for men and women. "Unlike my other collections, this one is all white. Gilles Touré gave me this idea. It's a way of marking my 50th anniversary," said the designer in his acceptance speech. As a tribute to this career, unequalled in the country, Pathé'O was awarded a Bronze Elephant by the Ivorian Ministers of Tourism, Foreign Affairs and the Promotion of SMEs and Crafts. The designer also had several celebrities show his new pieces including the tv-host Caroline Dasylva and the writer Anzata Ouattara.
In total, fifteen Ivorian designers presented their latest collections. Ciss St Moïse, St Joe, Étienne Marcel, Pathé O and Michelle Yakice, for the "Seniors" generation; Anderson D, MB Design, Momoche, Tim Création, Patrick Asso, for the "Juniors"; Franck Gnamien, Modeste Ba, Yohou Couture, for the "Cadets"; Michael Trah and Diamond Couture for the "Benjamins".
Michael Trah creates a surprise with his “Precious Stone” collection
In this new generation, one designer in particular was able to captivate the audience going by the applause he received: Michael Trah. At only 27-years old, he presented his collection called 'Pierre Precieuse'. "It's a nod to women, the outfits in this collection are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that, when put together, bring out the brilliance of the precious stone that is women," the designer told FashionUnited. Michael Trah started out in the commune of Port Bouët as a tailor before training in Nigeria. Back in Ivory Coast, he launched his eponymous brand in 2020. The young designer caused a sensation at the second show of his career, after a first appearance at MASA Mode in 2020: "I was pleasantly surprised. The public greeted my creations with cheers, they were really enthusiastic. After this show, I really hope to make a name for myself internationally.
Promote Ivorian fashion
"A designer who participates in Afrik Fashion Show gains fame, there is no doubt about that. It's true that we don't have enough money to give them a financial contribution, but this recognition acquired thanks to the event allows them to market their products and therefore to earn money," says Isabelle Anoh. During this edition, twenty Ivorian brands were able to exhibit their pieces in the hall of the Palais des Congrès.
No longer "Afrikfashion Show" anymore but "Afrik Fashion Week"
From the 16th edition, the Ivorian fashion event will evolve and will be called "Afrik Fashion Week". The event will take place over several days with fashion shows, a sale event and also a scientific component. "Behind the show, we must reflect on the future of African fashion. We need to find unifying themes so that fashion professionals can improve and sell their collections internationally," says Isabelle Anoh.
A graduate in marketing communications, the creator of the Afrik Fashion Show is a businesswoman and TV presenter: "I started with a 13-minute fashion programme called Tendance. We then had the idea of launching a fashion event to promote local brands and creators. So we launched "Tendance Party" which became "Afrik Fashion Show" from the fifth edition. The objective was also to position Ivory Coast as the capital of African fashion. In the long term, Isabelle Anoh's ambition is to launch a tv-channel: "It's an old project I have, to create an African channel for fashion, crafts and tourism. But I don't have the means yet."
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press