African fashion, often vibrant in color, is transcending beyond people of African descent. In recent years there has been a raising global awareness to the diverse talents in the fashion, media and entertainment industry, bringing the gap between African’s voice and the world’s listeners. Advancements in Africa’s creative industry are steady on the rise, as more and more platforms have been established to showcase the talents of fashion designers and entertainers. Africa is a beautiful continent full of beautiful people, so why not look towards Africa for a source of inspiration?
Africans now more than ever are aware of how important it is to look towards home for their inspiration. While African’s manufacturers may not be able to compete with the mass production of China, our advantage lies in the added value of our skilled artisanal work. Designers such as Maki Oh, Jewel By Lisa, Isaac Boateng and Laurence Airline have perfected the craft of conveying a story of tradition, respective to their cultures, while appealing to a global audience.
How can Africa’s fashion and entertainment industries be more fully developed and culture shared to consumers outside its borders?
Focus of Discussion:
Sandra Appiah is a young visionary who at the age of 23, has been called an influential media mogul in the making and was recently listed in Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs. The co-founder of ambitious and fast growing media group Face2face Africa, she became one of the world’s youngest black Editor-in-Chief’s when her company launched its new contemporary pan-African magazine F2FA, to rave reviews in January 2013.
Ms. Appiah graduated with honors from the Newhouse School of public communications (Syracuse University, NY) and spent a lot of time in the media industry working with companies such as the New York Times, HBO, and MTV.
She co-founded Face2face Africa with partner Isaac Boateng, with the mission to provide a competitive, influential and modern platform that will serve as the voice for Africans and the emergent generation of afro-descendants.
An avid believer in Africa with an interest in showcasing the glory of the continent, Ms. Appiah is also working on a talk show with the tagline “Everything African and Beyond.”
Georgie Badiel’s a model, an Author, and a Humanitarian. Badiel is the recipient of the 2002/2003 Miss Burkina Faso award, and consequently became Miss Africa in 2004. In 2005 Badiel premiered on the catwalks in Paris, launching her international modeling career. In 2008, she expanded a promising career to be signed in New York, and London, where Badiel quickly began working for fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Issey Miyake, Lavin, Oscar De La Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Zang Toi, Ralph Rucci, and many more. In addition to all her accolades, in 2012, Georgie was recognized as the “Arise Magazine Model Of The Year.”
A humanitarian, Georgie Badiel cofounded Models for water charity in 2011, and recently founded The Water Princess Foundation, two organizations that are aimed at providing access to clean water in Burkina Faso. She’s currently working on “Water Princess”, a children’s book named after her organization that is set to be published by Putman in 2016.
Over five years ago, Kibonen busted into the fashion scene with the never before seen ingenious idea of contemporizing one of the most delicate and intricate hand woven traditional garments of Cameroon western highlands region, the “Toghu”. She started out as one of the co-founders of KiRette Couture, which established her as a force to be reckoned with in the African fashion industry. In the fall of 2011, Kibonen decided to take her ideas to a higher level under the company name KibonenǀNY, hence, materializing her aesthetic vision by creating pieces that don’t only represent a Cameroonian tribe, but garments wearable and appreciated by the ultra-modern client.
Kibonen is an image consultant, and earned a Continuing Education Diploma in International Trade and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, a career path her father still struggles to comprehend. Nominated for the African Fashion International Awards 2013 for the Emerging Designer of the Year, Kibonen currently a Fashion Design student at the Art Institute of NYC. A serious career in Fashion is unfathomable in Cameroon, but this ideology is gradually changing thanks to pioneers like Kibonen, who takes it upon herself to cultivate and mature this untapped industry.
Roberta Annan is the CEO and Founder of Roberta Annan Consulting LLC (RAC). RAC is a global management-consulting firm that is focused on impacting the sustainable social, political and economic development of Africa. She aligns investors with government entities and key strategic stakeholders to encourage the ease of doing business in Africa.
At RAC,Roberta has been responsible for the expansion of several multinational corporations and small to medium-sized enterprises into Africa and the establishment of foundations for several HNWIs. She has worked on projects valued at $6 million to $100 million. Her work spans across numerous industries from fashion to aviation where she has made a significant contribution. Some of her past clients includes President Obsanjo, VistaJet, BNP Baripas, Jordanian Government, EnviroBoard, Vogue Italia, Miss Universe Organizations, and World Fashion 4 Development (WF4D). Her affinity for fashion in Africa has served as a catalyst for her to create a company that is focused on expanding the global footprint of African luxury and premium brands.
Roberta has worked tirelessly to address many societal issues such as education, women empowerment and poverty reduction specifically as they relate to Africa in the context of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Prior to establishing RAC, Roberta worked for the United Nations where she was recognized for her ability to raise funds and establish formidable relationships with prominent individuals, government officials, and HNWIs. While at the UN, she worked in different capacities within different initiatives such as the South-South News, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) – Community and Adaptation Learning Mechanism, United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID), and United Nations Digital Health Initiative. She developed an unwavering passion for international development while working for the UN.
As part of her continuous efforts to contribute to the fabric of society, Roberta is involved in several non-for profit organizations that are focused on impacting the sustainable social, political and economic development of Africa. She also serves on the advisory board of several organizations such as VistaJet, Invest Africa Club, Nexus Africa, and Global Luxury Fund. She has been a recipient of several leadership awards and is part of Young Leader Circle from Africa for Milken Institute.
Roberta holds a Masters degree (summa cum laude) in Biotechnology from Georgetown University. She received a Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Roberta has lived and worked on four continents. Her passions include traveling, speaking, reading, and volunteering.
Named by Forbes as one of Africa’s top entrepreneurs under 30 and Business day 40 under 40, Adebola is one of the Tigers of this generation. Founding Partner at RED, owners of the Prestigious The Future Awards Africa which engages over 30,000,000 million young people yearly and dubbed as the Nobel Prize for Young African by the world Bank, leading PR and Digital marketing arm servicing clients like NLNG, BlackBerry, Ndani, Federal Ministries amongst others, Content arm that owns leading platforms like YNaija.com, Y! Magazine, Rubbin’Minds Live on channels TV amongst others. Adebola who became an entrepreneur at the age of 16 has gathered valuable experiences and skill, which has translated, into building platforms of Continental relevance and impact.
Adebola was selected as one of the Top 100 of Our Generation by Top 100 UK in 2007 and 2008 and was selected as a Global Change maker by the British Council in 2009, attending the Change makers Conference and World Economic Forum in Cape Town. In May 2010, he was invited as a youth expert by the Africa Union and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to work on the African Youth Charter for the decade of youth in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
He sits on the EIE Nigeria board as chairman, a member of the Human Capital Development Africa board, a member of the African Leadership Network amongst others. Adebola is an Alumnus of The London School of Journalism, Pan African University and London School of Marketing