Made in Africa

The Moment is one of the daily blogs coming from those folks over at the New York Times. While I already have way too many blogs in my favorite lists, I check this out if something hits the front page of their website.

On the 7th, there was a post called Made in Africa (take a look, it's really short) and I was VERY excited when I read the tag line 'Putting Africa on the Fashion Map.' Basically this filmmaker spent 'several years' traveling in Africa looking for links between western clothing and their 'African' origins or connections. Well, the author took a complete beating from readers who commented and I have to agree with the comments. I started reading the article thinking the author would FINALLY start a discussion about getting all the great fashions coming out of Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, etc on the fashion scene. Instead it seems the film allows the shopper to " scan special tags from Barneys merchandise made in Africa, which prompts short movie clips (filmed by Hahn) of boys dancing in Madagascar or smiling horsemen in Lesotho, to a remixed track of Toto’s song “Africa.”

On elle.com, the director says "I want to hit the consumer emotionally in the store with my art. If people see how beautiful and spirited the African people are, maybe they’ll think about how we affect their economy." Instead of focusing on how 'beautiful and spirited' African are I which she could have focused on how TALENTED African people are in the fashion industry and not only as a source of cheap labor or a place to discard second-hand clothes.

Is it better that this director did SOMETHING about African that is allowing rich American consumers to see the links between what they buy and the continent, or would it have been better had she said nothing?

No comments: