The African Development Bank hosted the Fashionomics Africa Masterclass in Maboneng, Johannesburg aiming to unleash Africa’s fashion and textile industry potential and impart knowledge to emerging fashion designers.
Partnering with African Fashion International (AFI), the Fashionomics Masterclass focused on financial and business acumen, branding, marketing and networking. This initiative aims to reach 12 000 creative entrepreneurs online and offline, 70% of which will be women by 2020.
The two-day event held in the heart of Johannesburg attracted a number of creative entrepreneurs who wanted to grow their business knowledge and to better position themselves and their brands in this competitive industry.
The different speakers at the Masterclass tackled topics on how to get government funding. The representatives from the Department of Trade Industry and Department of Small Business Development shared with the entrepreneurs the programmes their departments offer for small businesses.
Professor Brendan McCarthy from Parsons New School for Design New York, United States, advised the creatives to think outside the box and not to be afraid to go for the niche market.
He shared ideas on how to create fashion for people who are paralysed, clothing that will make it easy for them to dress themselves. He advised that the creatives should be innovative, come up with ideas that will solve societal challenges, such as a “high absorbent underwear” which some creatives are busy with and these underwear will solve young girls problems especially ones from disadvantaged background.
Alex Harris a representative of African Fashion International (AFI) shared knowledge on how the designers can take their clothing to big retailers. He also advised them not to rush into opening their own stores but consider online stores and using social media platforms to push sales and interact with customers.
“Fashionomics Africa is currently being rolled out across five countries in the continent in South Africa, Nigeria, Ethopia, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. The reason we selected these countries especially South Africa in particular because of their vibrant fashion industry and talent that the world has to see. With Fashionomics South Africa we really want to raise the profile of African fashion and textiles on the international stage and we want to do that by preparing entrepreneurs with the right tools, access to markets, finance and networks so they can compete globally while retaining their cultural identity. We taking the value chain approach, from the cotton firms to the retails stores to see how we can strengthen the value chain and make sure it helps us create more value and wealth right here at home in Africa and we are looking forward in working with our partners such as African Fashion International that have the global knowledge and network so that they can leverage the African development Bank platform to have more impact together,” Venessa Moungar African Development Bank Director.