Alia Bare, a Niger fashion designer, took centre stage at this year’s Joburg Fashion Week, a celebration of pan-African couture featuring designers and fashion creatives from across the continent.
Bare showcased a collection she hoped would spread a positive image of her “troubled home”, which faced instability and economic sanctions following a military coup in July.
Her collection, called DNA, is a blend of influences from around the world, including symbols from Niger and design by a South African graphic designer.
The designer, who 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 am from Niger and I’m from different ethnic groups, and I wanted to show that in this collection.
“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,” she commented.
Speaking at the event, Bare recalled that Niger had long been associated with political strife by the rest of the world, an image she said did 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.
“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 noted.
Bare said she was “trying to share the love” she had for her country and she hoped it was working.
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