Recently, when Naomi Campbell was at a fashion show in Durban, South Africa, she touched upon an important subject in art, culture and fashion that probably isn’t talked about enough. The typical historical pattern for Africa – and other indigenous nations and cultures around the world – is for Europeans and the Western world to adopt their cultural production and label and market it for Western industrialized markets. The most obvious example has been in the music industry, but it happens with medicine, food, clothing, oils, etc. that come from plant and products, as well as in cultural art forms. When one mentions African fabrics, of course, Kente cloth comes to mind. Africa produces amazing batik cloth prints as well – but some of the most successful producers and marketers of those fabrics are Europeans. As we can see from in pop culture and fashion, through movies like “Black Panther,” Kente is becoming highly popular. It is incumbent upon people of African descent to work creatively with these trends and to market and produce Kente in new and unique ways. This helps African people retain the value and the profits of Africa’s cultural heritage.
Why Naomi Campbell believes Africa should guard its fashion and fabrics jealously
Kopano Gumbi, CNBC Africa
Africa should guard its fashion and fabrics jealously to stop the western world coming in and making a fortune from them, says one of the world’s best known supermodels.
Naomi Campbell– draped in an elegant gown, in the colours of a peacock with a flamboyant head wrap crowning her towering six foot frame, took to the stage Friday at the Durban International Convention Centre, South Africa for the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit.
“Africa needs to keep its fabrics to itself,” said Campbell.
Campbell is known as one of the longest working supermodels in the world and she hopes the continent can make more out of her fashion world. She believes that African prints and designs can be but exported profitably.
Campbell was the epitome of fashion on stage and appeared to practice what she was preaching.
“It’s Marianne Fassler,” said Campbell proudly of her frock. Fassler is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent fashion designers, who has worked with Campbell before. Elevating African fashion and its designers is a passion of Campbell’s, who has spent 33 years strutting down the catwalks of the world.
“My passion and drive is to see this continent of Africa be as great as it should be,” said Campbell.
The self-styled rebel, Naomi Campbell, was in Durban, South Africa to address leading women from across the continent and the world over.
Today marks the 44th celebration of International Women’s Day. The official date, March 8th, was recognised by the United Nations in 1975 and is a public holiday in many countries across the world.
“We should have more than just one international women’s day, because we do so much,” insisted Campbell. As well as fine jewellery, Campbell wears many hats. She has spent over a decade working on charitable causes with organisations such as UNAIDS and says that other than empowering women’s health, making sure young girls are educated and self-reliance is very important to her.