African designers need to celebrate their cultural roots and fashion history in order to become globally competitive….
“When I started out, it was with a certain philosophy, because at that time it wasn’t cool to look African. Africa wasn’t on the map as it is now. … There was really nothing really happening in terms of African fashion going global, or Africans being able to make a business of African fashion outside of the shore of Africa. So I went into it, sort of, to prove a point and to say ‘Listen. We can do this. We can add value.’ And to also bring the attention of the world to our own native abilities.”
- Deola Sagoe, leading lady of African fashion, is a haute couture fashion designer from Ondo State in Nigeria. Deola has been at the cutting edge of high fashion since 1989 and became the first black woman to present a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated fashion week, back in 2004. Her "globally appealing" style has earned her an enviable clientèle that ranges from Africa's first ladies, to society girls like Lydia Hearst, top model Alek Wek, and famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith.