Burkina Faso’s Fashion Designers: More to the Nation Than to Conflict.

Burkina Faso’s Fashion Week featured vibrant African clothing, both traditional and modern.

According to designers, they want to help West Africa become a fashion capital. This is in addition to its past coup and ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. The capital Ouagadougou hosted some of the shows, with residents lining up to watch models show off their designs for men and women.

Burkina Faso's Fashion Designers: More to the Nation Than to Conflict.

This small West African country hosted its third Ouaga Fashion Week, the first since the pandemic. The colorful four-day event was closed Sunday amid rising jihadi violence that was linked to al Qaida and Islamic State, which has claimed the lives of thousands.

Models and designers used their phones’ lights to apply makeup and fix hair when the capital was often without power.

Burkina Faso's Fashion Designers: More to the Nation Than to Conflict.

The capital Ouagadougou hosted 35 designers, selected from around 200 applicants. Alex Zabsonre (director of the event) stated that the event saw 75% of the designers from Burkina Faso for the first time.

He said, “Burkina has a lot to offer fashion-wise. That is why I started this project to bring out Burkina designers and to get them recognized internationally.”

Burkina Faso's Fashion Designers: More to the Nation Than to Conflict.

Many of the designs featured Burkina Faso’s traditional, handwoven Faso Dan Fani cotton made from cotton. Zabsonre claims that this cloth has been worn by stars such as Beyonce and Stella McCartney. According to the U.N., the country accounts for 3% of all global cotton exports.

According to Korotimi Dao (fashion designer and founder of Koro DK Style), fashion in China has changed in recent years.

She said, “Fashion week does not have to be a problem. It’s an opportunity for the hope that all will turn around.”

Burkina Faso's Fashion Designers: More to the Nation Than to Conflict.

The Ethical Fashion project has received $10 million from the European Union since 2017. This has helped create hundreds of jobs for marginalized women. Wolfram Vetter, Burkina Faso’s ambassador to the European Union, told The Associated Press that the Ethical Fashion Project has also connected Burkina Faso designers and producers to renowned fashion and interior designers.

Mallika Chaudhuri (founder and director of INDOI), a British womenswear brand, stated, “It’s high time for these unrecognized craftspeople to play a role in the global fashion arena” “We must celebrate, revive, and maintain local craft where makers and designers work together in order to move towards more ethical fashion industry.