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PARIS, France - A Senegalese-born French fashion designer realized a long-held dream when she staged the first 'Black Fashion Week' in Paris aimed at bringing African talent to a global audience.
Adama Ndiaye organized the event to showcase the best the continent has to offer but dismissed criticism that it excluded others who were not black.
"'Why not a White Fashion Week?' some have asked. But Paris Fashion Week is already white!" said Ndiaye, who is behind the Adama Paris label. She has been organizing Senegal's Dakar Fashion Week for the last 10 years.
"We simply wanted to promote African designers beyond African borders. These are designers who are well-known in Africa but who don't have access to the global market," she said, explaining that, in Africa, fashion is not yet seen as an industry in its own right.
Even when designers put together collections, they were often unable to sell them, she said, adding that her "Black Fashion Week" was a good opportunity not just for designers.
"For the models, the majority of them black, it's also an occasion to get on the catwalk since most of the shows look for more expensive white models — some of whom dropped out of 'Black Fashion Week' to do better-paying gigs," she said.
Ndiaye, who held a Black Fashion Week in Prague last year and will take the show to Montreal in November and Brazil's Salvador de Bahia next March, said that the fashion in the shows was not intended only for black people.
"These designs are not made by blacks for blacks," she said.
Ultra-feminine styles came in a variety of cuts with various elements. Fabrics ranged from silk and satin to embroidered cotton.
Around 15 black designers from Africa or living in France, Haiti or the United States presented their collections at the chic Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris. - Agence France-Presse
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