ON PRODUCING IN WESTERN AFRICA
At the early stages of the project, while seeking and gathering informations regarding the production, many of those we reached out to for direction and advice were stocked and confused by my choice to make it happen in Dakar, Senegal. The opinions were dubitative and tainted with concern – stuck with the now common answer Ethiopia seems to be when it comes to producing – quality – clothing in Africa.
But what about other countries? – I asked. Should we solely focus on one African success, or push and work towards the development of others? As in most countries, from the traditional style to the contemporary one, our western tailors have an important role on clothing production when they answer stylists and/or clients demands. Endowed with a cosmopolitan view, they are both narrators and readers between the ‘fringed’ Western aesthetics and the ‘corset’ of the tradition that sustains the necessity of cultural belonging.
From informal conversations I’ve held with them, I understood that many local tailors live at the edge of poverty and, for some, wish for acquiring a better know-how and more structure.
This is the reason why I chose to produce in a place where no one would instinctively bet on : where I wouldn’t be the only ones to learn, but most importantly, where starting with a small act could potentially impact the growth and improvement of others – with me – on the long term.