Ways to refashioning the future of African fashion from an expert.

Ways to refashioning the future of African fashion from an expert.
Leanne is the founder of the platform called Refashionafrica which is dedicated to African Fashion. It serves as a fashionable eye on urban Africa and its various styles.

 

Could you please tell me about your background? 
I have a commercial, marketing and branding background. Prior to founding Refashion Africa I also had my own marketing and sponsorship agency.
Do you really think the African continent is ready for a Vogue Africa? If so why?
I do think it’s time. As I tried to lay out in my article for the “Business of Fashion” website,  we have proven long term economic growth with future prospects, a vibrant fashion eco-system which still has its challenges but I feel must be represented in an authentic way. We have an affluent class and a growing consumer class which will be driving the new modern African narrative. We are more inter-connected than ever before and already have luxury brands present on the continent.
African Vogue could have been the unity element between all the african nations, do you think this may be why, the western media has not given it a chance yet?
I am not sure about that. But what I know is this, this is about us, in Africa. We are a force and the African Renaissance is underway. We must continue to make our own tables and take our place on the global stage.
With South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana leading the fashion industry on the continent, how do you imagine the infrastructure of an African Vogue?
I imagine that the engine driving Vogue Africa will be the best creatives, digital, commercial, communications, publishing, etc… African talent, in other words a collective effort to create a narrative that reflects what is happening inside the continent from major fashion cities to capture the African Zeitgeist and elevate our stories. We need an attitude of openness and willingness from many parties not fingering strong leadership.
You are a very successful writer, what is your opinion about diversity and how social media is helping break barriers globally in the beauty industry? Can the fashion industry follow?
There is continuous pressure for things to change. In the new world diversity is key. The world is in a state of continuous flux and more change is coming. Technological change is a major force shapeshifting the future, and in Africa we have a very high adoption rate for example of mobile technology. Expect new conversations, new ideas, to go beyond what was once thought impossible.
What is the next step for African fashion if this magazine doesn’t not happen in the next 3 years?
African fashion is not dependent on a Vogue Africa happening or not. It will continue from strength to strength, no doubt. We are a force to be reckoned with and Vogue Africa shouldn’t feel like this far fetched idea.
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Why diversity is more than just a trend in the beauty industry?

Why diversity is more than just a trend in the beauty industry?

“Diversity must be applied on all level of a company not just one.”

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The Luxe Beauty Soiree was both an eye opening and inspiring gathering. My invitation came from my friend who is the founder of glossy magazine GlamAfrica. I have known Chioma since the beginning of her publication and she is probably one of the most amazing lady boss who does not stop.

I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at the event. It was snowing in London and that’s never a good start of the day. But on that Saturday morning, I was convinced that attending this event could teach me a thing or two, and I was not disappointed.

Co-Founder Chioma Onwutalobi said “Finally we can talk about diversity openly in an environment that houses the decision makers at key organisations, so we move away from just speaking about these issues to seeing action in the real world.”

I found myself in a room filled with beauty experts, professionals, fashion and beauty bloggers who came together to learn, network and discuss the many facets of diversity in the beauty and lifestyle industry. The event had a few public figures on the panel, such as Irene Major, who came to talk about skin bleaching/tanning and their side effects.

This was unfortunately for me the boring panel because it seems like people were holding back on really giving their opinion. The subject is obviously sensitive for some people because at the end of the day, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Right?

Well, yes but you were invited on the panel to elaborate on this delicate topic!!! This is what the voice in my head was shouting.  Anyway… self-control is gold my dear.

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The rest of the day was filled with product demonstrations, tutorials from skin care to hair and cosmetics. It was all interactive so the guests could participate and ask questions. The management did the great job choosing the subject because this is what the general public really cares about. Nothing was really taboo and it was nice to be in a place where so many cultures came together to talk about things that matters to them.

I very much enjoyed the presentation done by the three ambassadors from the changing Faces charity. They help people with disfigurements and I must say, I almost cried listening to one of the stories. Not only these women were inspiring through their actions but their strength was shining through. I definitely want to contribute to their cause.

 

“This meeting was so relevant to me as a woman of colour, in my everyday role as a consultant dermatologist. Especially discussion around defying stereotypes in the workplace, representation in the media, skin bleaching, hair loss and the demonstrations on skincare and makeup for women of colour. Definitely looking forward to more.” Dr Shaaira Nasir – Consultant Dermatologist (Quoted on social media post event)

“We don’t have to bend our beliefs and adapt ourselves to be acceptable to anyone else. We don’t need to become palatable and hide who we are. For me, this event was about acceptance of each other, but primarily acceptance of ourselves. So many women were able to open up about the pressure and fear of looking different or being different, that they have to assimilate and that must change.” Narjice Basaran – PR consultant and Cofounder of PureModus.com

The Luxe Beauty Soiree last week was the launch event to prepare for something bigger in the coming months. This aims to be a contemporary educational platform, for people to come together to learn about the beauty and lifestyle industries, organising masterclasses and events where honest discussions will be a must.

They want to promote a change in thinking for both the beauty industry and the consumers. The greatest impact of this event came from the industry experts who gave eye opening account of how truly difficult it is to get right with their products and marketing campaigns. The change will have to be a collective effort; understanding that real change will come about when everyone embraces diversity as an all.