3rd Edition of Ouaga Fashion Week held in Ouagadougou

“Burkina is one of the African countries that has a lot of potential to offer as far as fashion is concerned ... That is the reason why I set this project up, to expose Burkina designers and get them recognized at the international level,”

There is more to Burkina Faso than conflict. The recent hosting of the 3rd edition of Ouaga fashion Week which had 35 fashion designers from West Africa and Europe is an indication that the fashion designers are on a mission to prove a point.

Interestingly, for the first time the majority of the designers were local. Some 35 designers — chosen from about 200 applicants — from West Africa and Europe, showcased their clothes in the capital, Ouagadougou. For the first time the majority of designers, about 75%, were from Burkina Faso, said Alex Zabsonre, director of the event.

The colourful and vibrant four-day event took place against a backdrop of rising jihadist violence linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which has killed thousands and rendered many homeless.

The country is one of the world’s top ten cotton exporters, accounting for an average of three per cent of global exports since 2000, according to the United Nations.

Designers say they are striving to make the West African country become known as an emerging fashion hub, to offset its reputation for its recent coup and ongoing conflict with Islamic extremists. Some of the shows were staged on a central street of Ouagadougou, the capital, where residents lined up to see models strut designs for women and men.

“Burkina is one of the African countries that has a lot of potential to offer as far as fashion is concerned … That is the reason why I set this project up, to expose Burkina designers and get them recognized at the international level,” he said.

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