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Cameroonian couturier Imane Ayissi refuses to use wax prints dismissing it as “colonial”

Imane Ayissi is the first sub-Saharan designer to show in the élite Paris haute couture week. Not only is he joining fashion’s crème de la crème, the Cameroonian couturier is shaking up the stereotype of African materials by refusing to use wax prints which he dismisses as “colonial”.

The 51-year-old former dancer dreams of “opening up a new path for Africa” in an “alternative way of doing luxury fashion”.Highly colourful wax cotton prints flooded West Africa after Dutch mills began turning out millions of rolls of the material with patterns borrowed from Indonesian batik in the 19th century.

“When we talk about African fashion it’s always wax, which is a real pity, because its killing our own African heritage,” says Ayissi.

“We only started wearing wax during the colonial era. Africa has more to show for itself than that — and the whole world needs to know it,” he insists. With his show called “Akouma” or “Wealth”, Ayissi has created a debut collection that nods both to the depth of indigenous African know-how and the fact that haute couture is also preserve of the ultra rich.  Continue Reading… 

*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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