The fashion industry in Africa needs to embrace technology to thrive in an increasingly global digital economy.
The call took place on November 13 during the Fashioninarics Africa webinar of the African Development Bank, which drew leaders from the Parsons School of Design in New York and Google Africa, as well as the African fashion brands Tokyo James, KISUA and IAMISIGO. This latest issue of Fashionomics Africa’s webinar series Technology, the core of tomorrow’s fashion, discussed the promising alliance between fashion and technology.
“Embracing technology is the key to unlocking the potential of Africa’s fashion industry in a digital economy. It is no longer an option to go digital for African fashion entrepreneurs, but it is a must,” said Emanuela Gregorio, Fashionomics Africa coordinator at the Bank, said.
The launch of COVID-19 has led to innovations and technological solutions to develop a sustainable fashion industry on the continent amid constraints to close. The solutions include artificial intelligence and e-business, both the focus of discussions during the third webinar presented by Fashionomics Africa.
Brendan McCarthy, co-director of the undergraduate fashion design program at the Parsons School of Design, told webinearers how important education was to the sector. He said the Fashionomics Africa platform helps to develop collaborative strategies to educate the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Branding and Reputation at Google, Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Fashion entrepreneurs need to focus on what they do best while we create the tools and support them to navigate online and their businesses. let it grow. “
Aderemi-Makinde said that Google is developing a partnership with the Bank through the Fashionomics Africa Masterclasses to support fashion entrepreneurs to boost their businesses by using digital tools.
Participants in the virtual session also discussed how the future of Africa’s workforce lies in the rise of the fourth industrial revolution, the unfolding digitalisation of the world economy. The panelists said new skills in digitization, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics would be needed in all industries, including fashion.
“The way we experience fashion will change in the next ten years,” said Samuel Mensah, founder and creative director of KISUA, the South African fashion brand. “Technology will know your exact dimensions. Technology will give advice on your choices. The shopping experience … is going to be very personal,” he added.
If designers do not embrace technology, they will not be able to compete, said British Nigerian designer Tokyo James: “The technologies are here to strengthen our voices. As fashion entrepreneurs, we create crazy things and use our technology to make them “If you are not in the world of technology, you will lag behind.”
Launched in 2015, Fashionomics Africa promotes investment in the textile and fashion sector using data, information and communication technologies as drivers of development. It aims to increase entrepreneurs’ access to finance while nurturing the business skills and digital tools for start-ups as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The Fashionomics Africa online market and mobile app, supported by the African Private Sector Aid Fund, enables African fashion and textile entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses. It is the first pan-African business-and-business-to-consumer digital market dedicated to MSMEs for textiles, clothing and accessories, a partnership with DHL as a logistics partner to reduce transportation costs.
The Fashionomics Africa webinar series is available to fashion entrepreneurs, digital enthusiasts and creative minds on the platform (both available on IOS and Android). Click to view previous episodes here.
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Media contact: Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Department of Communications and External Relations, African Development Bank, e-mail: email@example.com