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Africa’s “high fashion” bets on global retail presence | Semafor



Kenya State House

Kate Mayeye, CEO of Nairobi-based African Fabrics and Design, told Semafor Africa that the global rise of fast fashion -— where mass market retailers flood the market with inexpensive clothing to keep up with trends — had helped raise demand for unique, high-quality pieces, which African fashion houses are happy to provide.

“International buyers are looking for quality, authenticity and uniqueness,” she explained. Mayeye also noted that Africans in the diaspora were helping create a buzz around fashion from the continent, much in the same way they aided the rise in global popularity of African music genres including Afrobeats and Amapiano.

The Unesco report places the current value of African fashion exports at $15.5 billion per year and calls for increased investment and improved policymaking to support the fashion industry in Africa, highlighting its potential to strengthen economies.

Vivo’s Atlanta store was unveiled by Kenya’s President William Ruto during his ongoing state visit to the US. “This is not just a win for Vivo, but for Kenya and Africa as a whole. It showcases the global potential of African brands and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our continent forward,” he said.

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