The Africa Fashion Reception, an annual fashion gala has returned to Ethiopia coinciding
with the African Union theme for the year “The AU Year of the Arts, Culture And Heritage: Levers for Building Africa We Want”.
This 2021 edition was held at the Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa on October 22, a year after it was suspended because of the COVID -19 pandemic.
“It has been very difficult, I think this is the first time the designers are all coming out after the pandemic,” explains Lexy Mojo–Eyes, president of Legendary Gold, the company organizing the event.
“We were expecting 30 designers from 30 countries, but the pandemic has reduced the number, or some it was either because of COVID protocols, the other was about visa fees as a result of COVID, we are hoping that the future will be brighter for all of us,” says Nkosinatyaso, a designer from South Africa. “For the 15 designers that made it, it was a chance to show the world the beauty of their creativity. Our Africa fashion is very unique unlike overseas and every other culture, so I think we need more platforms where we can show the world what we are made of as Africans.”
However, those who have been in the industry longer say Africa has not yet got the value it deserves from the industry.
“It is about time that African Union supports their own,” says Sant Anzo the director of
Arapapa by Santa, a Ugandan Fashion company.
The African Development Bank values Africa’s textile and the fashion industry at 1.3 trillion dollars.
Obstacles to its growth include having over 90% of fashion businesses being small to
medium scale. They reportedly stagnate because of lack of government support as well as lack of capital.
Others fail because of a lack of intellectual property and the high cost of copyright.