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Oumou Sy - Fashion made in Africa

Events with the senegalese fashion designer Oumou Sy, 2005

Africa has always been an important source of inspiration for European artists. Beside the creative arts and music this also applies to the world of fashion. European top designers have again and again been inspired by the colours, textiles and design of African cultures or have just copied certain elements. In the meantime, however, in many African countries and in the large `Black Communities´ in London or Paris an independent African fashion scene has developed, which has hardly been taken notice of in Germany up to now.

afrivan fashion by Oumou SyIn October 2005 we presented the Senegalese fashion designer Oumou Sy with a multitude of events. Oumou Sy is known not only for her fantastic and lavishly produced fashion events but also for the combination of haute couture with social and economic involvement.

Due to the lack of opportunity of gaining access to African fashion design and prêt-à-porter fashion, the African consumers follow the European fashions. Many make use of the second-hand goods from old clothes collections which flood the African markets.

By setting up her own model label "Made in Africa" Oumou Sy is creating the possibility of local consumption of African fashions. This is why she is committed to introducing the industrial mass production of African prêt-à-porter fashion which can be offered at affordable prices in Africa.

Portrait of Oumou Sy

Oumou SyOumou Sy from Senegal belongs to the most significant personalities in the African world of fashion. The self-taught designer lives and works in Dakar. She expresses her artistic versatility in the creative textile and jewelry designs that she produces using traditional as well as modern techniques. As well as directing theater productions, designing costumes for local and foreign film productions, Haute Couture remains her favored field, where she has also made an international name for herself as a fashion designer. She founded the association
Metissacana, that supports the cultural and economic exchange between the continents and in which she also produces designs for the carnival in Dakar with her students.
In the last few years, Oumou Sy presented her collections in a variety of self-directed fashion shows in Europe and Africa. She owns her own stores in Geneva and Paris. She initiated the international yearly fashion sales week SIMOD in Dakar in which designers from all over the world have the opportunity to meet each other.

fashion by Oumou SyA Success Story

Oumou Sy also became popular through her music and film project co-operations. She designs the wardrobe for the Senegalese singers Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour and has won various awards at international film festivals for her costume designs. An expression of her international recognition is the "Prince Claus Award to The Art of African Fashion" that she received in 1998. In August 2000, Oumou Sy presented her new collection at the EXPO 2000.
The successful mixture of styles is characteristic of her work. The link between traditional and modern gives her designs an original note. Apart from the current contemporary collection, significant parts of this presentation were the designs of 18 royal couples that were supposed to symbolize the different kingdoms in Senegal. These were not historical costumes but rather original creations by Oumou Sy. Such a concept is unique in the world of fashion.

further information

Events with Oumou Sy in Hamburg :
www.culture-and-development.info/project/cultura.htm