The International Herald Tribune published a good article about a new generation of enterprising African artisans who are creating cosmopolitan designs referencing Africana. The article highlights Ethiopian designer Sara Abera and Kenyan Julia Doig who has been successful in redesigning the kikoi, a traditional Kenyan wrap, for the global market.
The article makes a good point about how African brands can compete in the global design market using heritage and local craftsmanship as a selling point. This is a good point considering most African countries cannot compete with Asia when it comes to providing cheap, skilled labor and an robust industrial production. Popular apparel lines are further solidifying this point by looking to African craftsmen for just that. Premium denim line PRPS promotes it’s use of African cotton in it’s $200+ jeans, while Edun, founded by Ali Hewson (wife of U2’s Bono) and denim designer Rogan Gregory, proudly publicizes it’s use of family-run factories in South America and Africa for production of its collection which is sold at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal.