Given the restrictions necessitated by the spread of the coronavirus, the organiser of last weekend’s Dakar Fashion Week, held in the country’s capital, got creative by hosting it beneath the trees in an ancient baobab forest.
The 18th edition of Dakar Fashion Week was initially cancelled outright due to coronavirus restrictions, but organiser Adama Ndiaye came up with a creative alternative hosting the show outdoors instead of indoors.
Fashion Under The Baobab Trees
The result was a single magical day of sustainable and eco-responsible fashion in the baobab forest of Senegal’s Bandia Reserve.
“With COVID we had to be creative, I had to find solutions, and above all, we had to avoid cancelling the show and here I think there is enough space, so no one feels cramped,” Ndiaye said.
The catwalk was laid out between the gnarly trunks and branches of tall baobabs, a powerful symbol of Africa themselves. Models on the catwalk displayed the latest West-African fashions from both well-known and up-and-coming designers.
Sustainability A New Fashion Trend
The message behind the 2020 Dakar Fashion Week was that sustainability is in style. The weekend event was based around the theme of environmental responsibility and featured 20 designers whose collections were all handmade on the continent.
“A lot of the designers had already been doing ‘slow fashion’ but they didn’t know it,” Ndiaye, also a fashion designer herself, said. “It’s made here and it’s not made in huge quantities. We were so ashamed of that for years, but now we are proud of it. This is luxury.”
While the garments are hand-produced in Africa, most of the fabric used the 2020 Dakar Fashion Week was imported from abroad.
“We don’t make everything here, so we can’t create a collection that’s 100% Senegalese,” said Ndiaye, whose own line used imported material from Thailand. “But at least we took the initiative to do certain things.”