A contribution to an eco-friendly world: Africa Fashion week goes green

Africa is most affected by the environmental pollution of the western world. As the western world is taking more actions to prevent environmental pollution especially in the last 10 years, so have two African fashion events, which took place last year, contributed to this cause. These events are The Nigeria Fashion Week (NFW) 2011 and the Zimbabwe Fashion Week (ZFW) 2011.

Both events took a ‘green’ direction by organizing their show fully in a green theme. Each event used the green theme differently and both were organized with a goal to create awareness about environmental issues and the importance of a sustainable environment. I wonder what difference such an event makes in a nation which is rather a victim of environmental pollution, compared to the western world.  Will this challenge Africans to contribute to a more eco-friendly world? We contacted both organizing teams to see to which extent their event went green and what impacts the events have made since.

The Nigeria fashion week

The Nigerian Fashion week took place on 16 November till 19 November and their theme was: Nigeria goes green. Every designer had to create a collection for the fashion week with clothing made of recycled materials and accessories.  The participating designers included Ama Glow, Amaks Designs, Frankoo designs, Modela Couture and more. On the other hand, Mr. Bay Adegbe, founder of Modela Couture used sack cloth and fish scales for his collection. The green theme was fully incorporated into the collection of every designer who participated in the Nigeria Fashion week.

One of the issues Nigeria fashion week addressed was waste management. Across Nigeria, many communities flush garbage in parts of the country, where the garbage resulted in clogs and water pollution. The top five major waste products in Nigeria are plastic sachets, paper, scrap metals, glass bottles and plastic bottles. Fashion designer Boma-Inko Tariah, for example incorporated recycled paper and tin can to bring this problem under the attention of the public.

We interviewed the organizers of Nigeria Fashion week about the theme of their event and the impact that it has made to Nigeria and/or Africa as a whole.

ABINA:How were the reactions of the participating designers to the ‘Nigeria goes green’ theme?

NFW: Participating designers were very excited about the Going Green Theme of the NFW 2011. Although the concept was very new to them, they rose up to the challenge.

ABINA: Which change do you expect the coming years in fashion, since the last event?

 NFW: We expect designs to be environmentally friendly in the process of producing their collection

ABINA: Next to Modela Couture, which other designer provided an outstanding ‘green’ collection?

 NFW: All the designers that participated in the Going Green Collection were all outstanding in their different ways.

ABINA: What impact do you think that the ‘Nigeria going green’ theme has made, since the event?

 NFW: It has drawn a lot of awareness to environmental sustainability among designers and the general public like never before.

ABINA: How do you think the Nigerian attitude is towards environmental pollution?

 NFW: Nigerians have not been active in environmental sustainability because of lack of enlightenment and information.

ABINA: Which other theme(s) are you planning to organize Nigeria fashion week the coming years?

 NFW: Our themes for now will remain at environmental issues. This year’s theme is Going Green 2. It is to continue from where we ended last year.

ABINA: Which theme has been the most influential/outstanding?

 Going Green has been the most influential because it attracted attention from all over the world

ABINA: What other elements of the fashion week aside from the collections, had a green theme?

FW:  For 2011, it was only the Going Green Collection that executed the environmental issue. But this year, there will be the collection, awareness walk and tree planting exercises.

ABINA: That sound like a great event to look forward to. Thank you.

The organizers of Nigeria fashion week are also organizers of The Nigeria Fashion Show, the Nigeria Fashion week, the Nigeria Fashion Awards and the Nigeria Model Awards.

In the video below is a short interview from CNN with fashion designer Mr. Bay Adegbe.

The Zimbabwe Fashion week

The Zimbabwe Fashion week took place on the 31st of August till 3 September in Harare City. The name of their theme was Think & Live green. Unlike the Nigerian Fashion week, Zimbabwe fashion week incorporated the color green only. They incorporated the color green into their logo and ticket fliers. Opposing to NFW, which prompted all designers to use eco-friendly materials for their collection, Zimbabe fashion week had a few designers who used eco-friendly materials. All designers had to use local fabrics and local products.  The participating designers were mainly Zimbabwean designers of which included Sindiso Sibanda, Yvonne Watazda, Alpharose, Colin Ratisai and more. International designers included Thula SIndi, Nadege Cezette and Christine Wolf. We organized Darry Dzapasi, who is part of the organizing theme.

ABINA: What other aspects were in the green theme?

 ZFW: Well, everything we did from the logo to the tickets fliers everything was

decked out in green. Some of our designers as well designed their clothes
in that light.

ABINA: The Nigeria Fashion week also had a green theme. How do you think about their event?

 ZFW: I loved the Nigerian fashion week. They did a splendid job on that. I really do look forward to it next year!

 ABINA: What impact do you believe the event has mad? 

ZFW: It has helped people realize that the fashion world is also trying to save the world and
it has also given awareness to most Zimbabweans about it.

ABINA: What do you think about the development of African fashion over the last couple of years?

ZFW: Over the past years fashion has indeed evolved but we still need to break barriers hence
our theme this year. We are truly grateful to God for how far we have come.

ABINA: What are the hopes for the future?

ZFW: In the future I am sure we will see more Eco friendly clothes being manufactured. Fabrics like linen and silk those are the kind of fabrics of the future.

ABINA: Thank you for your time

Regarding the impact that both events have made within their countries, I would say that a green theme is definitely a step towards a direction where there is awareness concerning environmental pollution. It is an example of using fashion shows as a platform to point out environmental issues. The step is positive. Whether the step is influential is another question to answer. Let’s give it a few years to see where the developments surrounding environmental pollution are going and whether the western world will take more actions against it. Great to know that Nigeria Fashion week 2012 will have another green theme called Going green 2. A part 2 is a sign that the previous part was a success.

More about the Nigeria Fashion week

More about the Zimabwe fashion week

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Thank you for you comment. Be blessed. ABINA

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