For young talents in the fashion world, learning about the business of the industry and how to run a successful brand is just as important as the lessons taught by going to fashion school. Yet, a lot of fashion schools in Africa tend to only focus on aspects of illustration, designing, and pattern drafting.
A proper introduction and induction into the industry is vital in helping set new designers on a solid career path. But a lack of resources and materials means this kind of training isn’t readily available. Taking courses abroad would also mean spending a fortune, due to currency differences.
However, there’s a new crop of fashion African professionals who have taken it upon themselves to teach emerging talents in full scope, by a way of matching both solid curriculum structures and years of amassed experiences.
Yoanna ‘Pepper’ Chikezie – The Assembly Hub
The Assembly Hub has impacted over 3,000 creatives and entrepreneurs. The platform has done this through multiple works and collaborations with other professional platforms, like The British Council, The International Trade Center, Facebook, Google, London College of Fashion, and Condé Nast College of Fashion, as well as through creating different initiatives and programs that support the growth of creatives in Africa. “The vision for us is to support and create access for young people and women especially in the creative sector,” Pepper told.
Adebayo Oke-Lawal – Orange Mentorship
Growing up, Adebayo Oke-Lawal wrote stories that inspired young teenage boys like himself. As an adult, he’s following on that path to not only inspire men through his lifestyle, but also through his conversation-starting brand, Orangeculture, which tethers towards freer expressive living. In 2017, he founded a flagship program under the Orangeculture brand, as a way to once more inspire. The Orange Mentorship program is a platform that essentially passes as a fashion education system, educating younger people on the gimmicks of how the industry works, using their own experiences to help them navigate through the blockades and recurring challenges that comes with working in the industry.
Rhoda Aguonigho – Lhaude Fashion Network
Rhoda Aguonigho is the founder and creative lead at Lhaude Fashion Network. Her work in the industry includes consulting, project management, and helping young creatives and emerging talents across Africa grow through the Lhaude Network.
Frederica Brooksworth – CIAFE
In June 2021, Frederica Brooksworth took the bold step to take a break from her job as a lecturer, focusing more on the educational system of the African continent, and the country she’s from, Ghana. She went ahead to build the Council for International African Fashion Education, CIAFE. Brooksworth, who has affiliations with top fashion firms like Business of Fashion, Lagos Fashion Week’s Style House Files, and FashMash, can mostly be described as an academic, marketing strategist, lecturer, researcher, and curriculum developer, predominantly in the area of fashion. CIAFE, a non-profit organization headquartered in London, with offices located in both Accra and New York, is a knowledge and research centre that’s dedicated to improving and advancing the standards and development of fashion education in Africa.