An African designer's experience in participating in a fashion event in Beijing
Fashion is a global language understood by all and sundry
By Samuel Daniel  ·  2021-07-07  ·   Source: VOL. 13 JUNE 2021
African fashion trend is displayed at the African Fashion Show in Beijing on June 5 (COURTESY)

Fashion is a way of life. Although it may be unique and based on cultural inclination, it is also a global language understood by all and sundry. Fashion could be manifested in clothing, accessories, makeup, footwear, and body posture, making it a diverse industry that is always relevant and dynamic. Being a fashion designer is all about telling a particular story through art, which I have been actively involved in for the past 10 years.

The creativity involved in fashion designing attracted me to the industry, and this passion has inspired me to invest much time and effort in designing various styles. As a designer, the joy I derive from seeing my craft and creative designs on people is unexplainable, and showcasing it to the global community has been a lasting desire. Fortunately, the Beijing 2021 African Charity Gala Dinner organized by the Group of African Ambassadors' Spouses (GAAS) helped me realize my dream, because my earnest aspiration to see the eclectic, beautiful heritage of African fashion put on a show on global stage has just been fulfilled.

This event aims to build strong collaboration between the African nations and China. The GAAS is a non-profit association intended to create a framework for cultural exchange between the spouses and the Chinese Women's organizations to foster friendship between the two sides. To achieve their objective, the organization is involved in charitable activities through the participation of its members solely to raise funds for the benefit of the underprivileged section of the Chinese community and African society. Among other notable services to communities, this charity group assisted the 2008 earthquake victims in Sichuan Province of China and some African countries during the Ebola epidemic in 2015.

The 2021 edition of the program, an African fashion show, brought ambassadors of African countries and some Chinese guests to explore diverse African cultures. The show provided me with a platform as a young African designer to present our brand, showcase our works in the international arena, and expand our business networks and partnerships. I am a designer from Nigeria and the founder of Mubian Collections (MC), a fashion brand. Rooted in the idea that "fashion is life," our brand is creating a modern perspective on the African way of dressing while preserving African heritage. Our vision is to ensure that Mubian Collections dominates the Africa market and the world at large.

This event also featured Naya Fashion and Chen Wen, a top Chinese fashion designer. We all showcased several beautiful collections of clothing such as gown, skirt and blouse, and men's attires, among others, to give the scene a panache view. All the African designs stole the show due to the uniqueness and excellence of the drafts, which left the guests stunned, admiring the beauty and the creativity of the fashion displayed by the models. Beyond the clothing, the event also exhibited various jewelry, bags and artworks from all over the African continent.

Participation in this event was a life-changing experience for me. It has opened my mind to the fashion and creativity world and also helped me find opportunities that lie in the industry. It is a show that I will forever remember and cherish, not only because of how the organizers presented us to the international audiences but also for how much our works were appreciated and for gaining intercontinental attention. The experience and connections have now motivated me to consider opening our brand and staying in China after my studies. China is now the world's center of commerce, and almost all African fabrics are found here.

In my own opinion, I would recommend the involvement of more Pan-African investors who can collaborate with some of the African designers to take our African brands beyond the African borders. 

The author is a Nigerian studying at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

(Print Edition Title: A Show of African Fashion)

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