It was all glitz and glamour at the Joburg Fashion Week, a celebration of pan-African couture featuring designers and fashion creatives from across the continent.
Taking centre stage this year was Niger fashion designer, Alia Bare, with a collection she hopes will spread a positive image of her troubled home, which faces instability and economic sanctions following a military coup in July.
Bare, who’s lived in India and Senegal, showcased an elegant collection on Thursday which drew from her experiences living in different countries.
“It is a very important collection for me because it represents what I am in terms of my culture, my background. I’m from Niger and I’m from different ethnic groups, and I wanted to show that in this collection,” she said.
“Nowadays this is the most important thing. We are melting pot. We are a different blend of things and this is what makes us unique and what we should embrace totally.”
Speaking at the event, Bare said Niger has long been associated with political strife by the rest of the world, an image she says does not fully represent the beauty of her country.
“When people talk about Niger they always talk about conflict, they talk about poverty and death, they talk about negative things,” she said.
“I know most people associate fashion with superficiality. But I think that fashion, through culture, can help to send a good message outside, an image of the country that is positive.”
She said she was “trying to share the love” she has for her country and she hopes it is working.
Bare’s collection, called DNA, is a blend of influences from around the world, including symbols from Niger and design by a South African graphic designer.
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