Models catwalking at a past fashion show. The webinar will discuss how to push the industry in Africa forward.
Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (RCFS) will on December 18, hold a virtual conference during which players in the fashion industry will discuss the current state of the African fashion industry.
Dubbed “The Future of Fashion Industry in Africa”, the webinar will bring together different stakeholders of the fashion industry to share experiences and discuss how private and public institutions can support Africa’s growing fashion industry.
The webinar will include discussions which will be in the form of a series of a thought-provoking panel. Key speakers of the event will include renowned fashion designers, fashion promoters, experts in textiles and fabric dyeing, fashion school teachers and some government representatives.
Celestin Ntawirema, the brains behind RCFS and organiser of the webinar told The New Times that participants in this webinar will share experiences on how to establish a successful fashion concept business, discuss challenges facing the industry and propose some solutions.
“Though Covid-19 halted most activities in the industry, we thought of creating a platform that will bring players in the fashion industry to share experiences and best practices so we can learn from each other how best we can push our fashion industry to another level. We also want to see how designers can go global through African networks,” Ntawirema said.
Celestin Ntawirema, the CEO of Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show. / Courtesy.
The African fashion sector is already impressing in the global market, something that industry players hail as a motivation despite the challenges they have faced in the journey.
Ntawirema, who has been promoting fashion for over the past eight years said that, from his experience, many brands from all over the continent had established themselves among the best globally and are now selling big on the international fashion markets compared to Western fashion despite having few fashion schools that can drive the industry to greater heights.
He, however, lamented that investors are still reluctant to put their money in fashion-related projects because protection of fashion copyrights and fashion innovations is still low due to the gap in fashion literacy.
The webinar, he said, will be an opportunity for fashion players to show both the public and private sectors the potential that fashion has at its disposal so as to attract their investment and, on the other hand, call for support from the governments to create a conducive environment for fashion to flourish and become a sector which can contribute to the national economic development.
A model shows up before the audience during a past event. / File.
Some of the speakers expected for the webinar include Ruth Jackob, senior lecturer in fashion marketing Eastern London, Karen Uwera, the President of Rwanda Designers Association, John Bunyeshuri, the CEO and Founder of Kigali Fashion Week and Kenyan fashion guru Vinn Clizz, the Managing Director of Vinn Clizz among others.
Though Rwanda’s fashion industry is being contextualized with the ‘Made in Rwanda’ policy but Ntawirema said that it’s a shame that One of the biggest challenges we have is that we have no fashion school that can prepare and raise future designers, models, or fashion promoters by profession.
“This is all down to the fact that Rwanda has no forum bringing together designers, models, promoters and other stakeholders to discuss to the future of this industry. We also need an umbrella or a fashion watchdog for all players in the fashion industry to ensure that the protection of our works is guaranteed,”
Rwanda may have local designers who are becoming successful but under hard conditions which the webinar is also looking forward to tackling.
The webinar outcomes are expected to respond to questions raised around African fashion industry from “who can design?”, “who can sell locally-made clothes”, and “who promotes fashion?” or even “who can basically support fashion sector?”
“We hope the webinar will find share responses to these questions together with the speakers. We also value new ideas from the public from which the future styling and fashion business in Africa can rely on,” he added.