The Scramble for New Africa
“There should be a Vogue Africa,” said international supermodel Naomi Campbell to reporters at Africa’s biggest fashion event – ARISE Fashion Week in Lagos just a few weeks ago. Followed by, “Africa has never had the opportunity to be out there and their fabrics and their materials and their designs be accepted on a global platform … it shouldn’t be that way,”. Ms. Campbell cited the recent launch of Vogue Arabia as a precedent for the high-end magazine moving into new markets in hopes that other giant fashion brands will follow suit.
This criticism comes at a time when diversity has become the new currency for brands and fashion houses. The fashion industry historically has been known for its colorless representation.
Which is particularly alarming being that the majority of the world is filled with people of color.
Brands, studios, media outlets and entertainment networks are starting to understand that showing full representation could equate to more dollars added. And if we have learned anything from ‘Black Panther’ it’s been the purchasing power of black people. On April 7th, Ryan Coogler’s ‘ Black Panther’ surpassed James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ as the the third highest-grossing film of all time. With these numbers floating around pop culture more brands are trying to pursue more black/ African input in hopes to cash in. A phenomenon that I would liken to the vast colonization of African countries by European powers in the late 19th century, but with less accouterments that came with slavery. It’s finally registering that not showing people or telling stories of folks who resemble the majority of the world could prove to be a major disadvantage. And who wants that? This new scramble for black/African creatives has seen swift strides and gains.
In March of 2018 Louis Vuitton named Ghanaian-American Virgil Abloh as their new menswear artistic director making him the first black director at the acclaimed fashion house.
In a time where the purchasing power of black millennials has become more evident brands are moving closer to showcasing more melanin within their global campaigns and on their feeds.
Some mark the beginning of this shift a year ago when British Vogue named Ghanaian born Edward Enninful as their Fashion Director and Editor-in-Chief. Or when GQ Style named Nigerian- American Mobolaji Dawodu as its Fashion Director. The world finally seems to have their eyes on the forgotten continent, but not on the safari’s and wildlife rather the dope creators and their life’s work.
There are many brands emerging that highlight this new wave of African excellence in the fields of fashion, music, art and culture. At Goodpeeple we share the best in men’s fashion, footwear, music, art and culture from & for the African diaspora. We wanted to create a new-media brand for the next generation of African tastemakers, trendsetters & style-conscious young men. We are one of many brands on this new wave of portraying a New Africa in hopes to showcase Africa to the world.