From Ethiopia to Uganda : new names on Africa catwalk

PARIS, July 17, 2007 (AFP) -Africa's two-yearly fashion fest in Niger is to feature emerging designers from South Africa and Mozambique at the southern tip of the continent, to stylists from Uganda, Ethiopia and Morocco, organisers said Tuesday, July 17th.


Alphadi's show during the 2005 FIMA edition

The International Festival of African Fashion, better known as FIMA, gathers top Paris names such as Sonia Rykiel, Frank Sorbier and Paule Ka (favourite of failed French presidential candidate Segolene Royal) with upcoming designers for four days of catwalks and couture in the arid West African nation.

Along with a rap hip-hop festival and the nomination of the continent's top model among hundreds of would-be mannequins, a panel of fashion experts has nominated the 10 emerging designers who will compete for FIMA's Fashionable Africa prize during the November 19-23 fest.

Significantly, of the 10 picked from a field of 95, only South Africa's Thula Sindi is google-able.

"Some could only enter drawings," said Paris fashion writer Florence de Monza, panel member. "We chose those whose designs appeared commercial, the idea being to help launch new designers onto the market."

"Those picked to compete at the last 2005 edition of FIMA produced very very strong designs."

With Africa's traditional weavers and cotton-growers struggling to survive, FIMA has given textiles and clothes-making an additional shot-in-the-arm.

Others being given a chance to break through in the highly competitive fashion arena include Ghana's Luiz Babajide Adelaja, Amine Bendrouiche of Morocco, Niger's Amadou Hamidou, Madoi Kasumba Lattif of Uganda, South African Ruga Luphelele Athenkosi, Cameroon's Charlotte Mbatsogo, Sandra Cardosso Muendane of Mozambique, Ethiopian Mohamed Osman and Martial Tadolo Zambo of Cameroon.

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