Exposure or Exploitation?
I must admit, the first time I saw African prints used in a high fashion store on 5th Ave and the price tag of the top was something beyond 200 US Dollars, I was offended. “How dare they using African cloth, calling it a new trend and selling the designs for horrendous prices?” Was the first thought that crossed my mind. Somehow, it felt wrong that the Western Fashion industry was showcasing something that had been around for a long time as new and trendy. When I told a group of Black Fashionista Bloggers about my idea to create a blog on African Prints in Fashion they responded with the same notion of ‘oh my, another person jumping on the African Print band wagon‘. So there seems to be the feeling that the Continent is being exploited for its resources once again.
Let’s take a look at the phenomena from another angle. The Fashion Industry is giving African prints a new platform by showcasing the prints and cloth in their designs. Thus, by creating a “new” trend, designers from the Continent that have been using African prints and cloth to create innovative and fashion forward designs for several years, get more visibility and can possibly benefit from the new hype.