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Liberia At The First Africa Fashion Business Summit

download-12TeKay Designs, an award winning fashion label founded by Fashion Designer Kimma Wreh, showcased their Spring 2017 “Pride of Liberia” collection comprising of Liberian made country cloth, tie dye fabrics, and Ankara prints along with matching Liberian made accessories (purses, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings).  The country cloth fabric is hand woven with threads from cotton farms in Liberia, and is a source of Liberian nationalistic pride.  Liberia’s trade exhibition included hand-made country maps, county flags, mother and child artwork, paintings, country cloth shirts and fabrics, tie-dye and Ankara fabrics and accessories.  Liberia’s National Tailors, Textiles, Garments and Allied Workers Union also partnered with TeKay Designs to supply some of the fashion products in the trade exhibition.  Wreh was commissioned in June 2015 as Liberia’s Fashion Ambassador representing Liberia’s National Tailors, Textiles, Garments and Allied Workers Union.

According to Kimma Wreh, “The Liberian fashion exhibition and showcase at the African Union is part of a broader initiative (financed by TeKay Designs and Excel Magazine International) to promote Liberian fashion, culture and tourism by displaying Liberian made apparel and accessories globally. The African Union event was an opportunity for a cross-section of designers, Ambassadors, dignitaries and AU staff to learn about Liberia’s fashion sector and purchase Liberian made products.  Sales were strong at the trade exhibition and the attendees were quite receptive to the styles and colors of the Liberian made designs.  The National Investment Commission also provided investment guides for doing business in Liberia.”

While in Addis Ababa, Kimma appeared as special guest on AFRO 105.3 FM (African Drive Time Show) hosted by Mr. Mitchell Olaniyi (aka DJ Toka)and Mr. James Kanagwa (Ecobank Director), where she educated the listeners on the Liberian fashion sector, KDE Disability Africa Foundation (a 501C3 USA based non-profit organization) and Excel Magazine International (a global media house of global repute). KDE Disability Africa Foundation is an advocate for training  people with disabilities to produce fashion accessories and apparel in Liberia and Nigeria with expansion to other African countries.

The African Fashion Business Summit and Exhibition was held on September 14th and the gala event (trade exhibition and fashion show) was held on the 15th September by participating countries including Liberia.  The gala fashion event was attended by more than 600 select VIPs comprised of Ambassadors from over 112 countries, multinational corporations, Corporate CEOs and top government representatives. The Chairperson of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma met with top country designers at the exhibition stands in support of locally made fashion products from the African continent.

The theme of the first African Fashion Business Summit was ‘Creating Wealth for African Economies through its Fashion, Garment and Textile Industry’ and the event was moderated by Lexy Mojo Eyes, CEO of Legendary Gold Limited, organizers of the Africa Fashion Reception. The welcome address was delivered by the Commissioner for Social Affairs, His Excellency, Dr Mustapha SidikiKaloko. The Keynote Speaker was Cristina Morozzi from Istituto Marangoni, Milan, Italy who spoke about the increasing influence of African fashion globally. The Managing Director of Femaz Micro Finance Bank, Dr Mrs Sandra Nwugo, spoke about the role of Micro Finance Bank in supporting the various fashion vocations.

The summit featured designers from around the African continent including Tekay Designs – Liberia, Botocy – Botswana, Kaz O Zah Art – Burundi, Paradise Fashion – Ethiopia, Fanny Mandina – DR Congo, Classic Fashion – Namibia, Walove by Designs – Kenya, Kokonut stylist – Swaziland, Black Coal Clothing – South Africa, Keto Couture – Nigeria, Chizo – Zambia, Bulongo Clothing, Ladybird Fashion design, EjigTibeb, Yefiker, etc.  Atunda Entertainment featured performances by Anu (the only female Ekwe Performer of international repute) and Olo Omidanbata (the only female bata player globally).

The Africa Fashion Reception (AFR) is a Pan African initiative and this year’s event gathered fashion designers, dignitaries, Ambassadors and media from various African countries, in a celebration of cultural diversity expressed through the artistic fashion discipline with the proud theme ‘Africa is the New Inspiration of Global Fashion’.  Officially launched in Paris in 2013, there were 16 African countries that participated in the Africa Fashion Reception followed by 24 countries in the 2nd edition.

According to Lexy Mojo-Eyes, CEO of Africa Fashion Reception “the textile, garment and fashion industry all over the world is reputed to be the highest employer of labor after government. It led to the industrial revolution and infrastructural development in America, Europe and the Asian countries at different times. It can also be a catalyst for Africa’s economic revolution’ he said. ‘With a population of over 1.2 billion people, Africa must learn how to do business with itself before venturing out of the continent. This is why we are beginning from Africa” he concluded.

The Africa Fashion Reception will have its 3rd international edition in Paris France on Saturday 29th October, 2016 at the UNESCO due to a new partnership between UNESCO and The Africa Fashion Reception.

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