Dakar Fashion Week Brings Clothing Style ‘Back Where It Belongs’

09 July, 2017

Fashion Week is a clothing industry event held in several major cities around the world that brings attention to clothing design and products.

The cities hold their events at different times of the year. During those weeks, designers and other members of the fashion industry come together in places like Paris, Tokyo and New York.

The events give creative people in those cities a chance to share their culture and new clothing styles with the world.

Last week, Senegal's capital, Dakar, held its Fashion Week. One of the biggest events was free to the public although it showed costly fashion products.

Adama Paris, designer and founder of Dakar Fashion Week, June 29, 2017.
Adama Paris, designer and founder of Dakar Fashion Week, June 29, 2017.

The show is called the "Street Show." It happens every year in an ordinary neighborhood of the city.

Senegalese designer Adama Paris started the Dakar Fashion Week and created the Street Show. She told VOA it is her favorite show of the week because she gets to take fashion back to the streets where, she said, it belongs.

The Dakar Fashion week has been happening for 15 years. Most of its shows are in large, costly hotels, and they often charge people a lot of money to attend.

But the Street Show is open to the public. This year it was in a neighborhood called Niary Tally. Activity surrounded the outdoor area where the show took place. Across the street, public buses picked up and dropped off passengers. All around, clothing sellers sold their products.

A man named Moussa Diouf placed his collection of shoes for sale on a wall next to the stage. A woman named Nicole Coly sold bright cloth from her small store on the street corner.

Adama Paris said she loves that the Street Show can show young people in neighborhoods like Niary Tally what they might be able to do in the future.

"For the years coming, I want this show to become more popular because it's important to inspire the young people and come to this street with high fashion," she said.

More than 30 designers from nine countries attended Dakar Fashion Week. Eleven of them came to show their work at the Street Show.

A few meters from where the designers and models prepared for the show, local tailor Al Hassane Diallo watched closely. The 25 year-old said he hoped to learn a lot from the event.

"I see what is new. I see something that I didn't know about before," Diallo said.

A tailor works in Dakar's Niary Tally neighborhood, the working class area where Dakar Fashion Week held their
A tailor works in Dakar's Niary Tally neighborhood, the working class area where Dakar Fashion Week held their "Street Parade" fashion show this year, June 29, 2017. The show is free and takes place in an open and public area each year as part of Dakar Fa

Two young women watching from down the street said they love Adama Paris for what she does. One of the two, Marie Beye, added, "[Paris] could have chosen a nice hotel [for this fashion show], but she loves her country."

As music played and the show started, children gathered close to the stage and cheered the different clothing designs. The people watching danced along to a French song called "Dressed Like Never Before," while the models walked by in gold-colored clothing.

Another designer showed unusual clothing that used a wax cloth common in West African clothing. It is most popular among young people in areas like Niary Tally.

This year, 100 models took part in the street parade. That was more than in any previous year.

"I don't want to ... just do a cheap or little show," said Paris. She said she planned the Niary Tally fashion event to be just like any of the more costly ones. "I just want to do just actually what we're doing in fancy places."

After the street parade, the fashion stages move to a costly hotel. But for one night, a neighborhood like Niary Tally has a chance to shine.

I'm Pete Musto.

Ricci Shryock reported this story for VOA News. Pete Musto adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. Is there a Fashion Week in your country? What kinds of events happen during that week? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

fashionn. the business of creating and selling clothes in new styles

outdooradj. done, used, or located outside a building

inspirev. to make someone want to do something

model(s) – n. someone who is paid to wear clothing or jewelry in photographs and fashion shows so that people will see and want to buy what is being worn

tailorn. a person who makes men's clothes that are measured to fit a particular person

waxn. a hard substance that becomes soft when it is heated and that is used to make various products

cheapadj. of low quality

fancyadj. very expensive and fashionable