Ivory Coast is located in West Africa on the coast next to Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso . The country is 322,463 km2 big with a population of 27. Million ( World bank 2021). There are 4 main ethnical groups : Akan, Dyula/Maninka, Voltaiques/Gur, Kru and others. Yamoussoukro is the political capital and Abidjan the economical capital and also the major urban center of the country with almost 5.million people (2021 United Nations).
Two weeks ago, I landed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The goal? Implement a cultural project, that will bring German handicraft brands closer to West-Africa. Also, this project will allow me and New Afro to learn more about the cultural sector in West-Africa… how it works, how its actors collaborate and function. This project will serve as an internship for my master studies in Intercultural Communication and Management.
You may ask yourself “why Abidjan?”. Well, Abidjan is the epicenter of culture in the francophone Africa. It is sometimes also compared to New York or Manhattan because of its high ceilings, its night life and the hustle culture of people living here. The fashion scene does not only belong to those, who are financially stable. No, in Abidjan everyone participates in this lively fashion cultural life, throughout social classes. And this is what makes this city so special.
“Being the bridge between cultures”, this is the New Afro motto and the Abidjan showroom is basically following this goal and vision. Here in Abidjan, we want to connect creatives through cultural exchanges, tell their stories through interviews and blogs and also collaborate in different ways with them.
6 years ago, I remember telling a friend that I was listening to Materia ( a German artist rapper ). After I sent him a song, he seemed positively surprised to listen to a German rapper. For his defense, he told me “ah I didn’t know that Germans could rap so well and sound good too”.
I felt shocked and also sorry for his uneducated comments towards German creatives.
No culture is saved from Stereotypes. Even Germans. But each of us, in one way or another, can educate others about certain realities.
Growing and living in Germany for 10 years, I definitely witnessed the existence of a creative world and industry. Creatives creating, imagining, innovating, trying etc. This is exactly what New Afro wants to show portray, by bringing the following brands to Abidjan:
From our partner Thisisearly, based in Frankfurt, we took to Abidjan some beautifully handcrafted wallets, card cases and - our personal favorite - sun glass cases which you carry over your shoulder like a tiny little handbag.
Early fuses crisp design with vintage chic and a modern demand for high quality manufacturing and celebrates the beauty of natural materials.
Thisisearly exclusively uses vintage stock or vegetable-tanned, chrome free leather that is then further processed at regional manufacturers.
Charlotte is also a creative from Frankfurt am Main. Besides tailoring clothing, she also does beautiful handcrafted rings and bracelets, from which she gave me a great selection to take with me to Abidjan.
Also the brand Nil&Mon gave us a selection of cool shirts to present in Abidjan.
One of the intrinsic elements of the brand is a symbiotic relationship between London and Berlin, each city providing a flurry of inspiration amidst the people and their emotions, the pull & charm of two vibrant European cities rich in terms of art, music, events and nature. In addition to being cosmopolitan, its nonchalant and fun-driven spirit has made the label a hit among women who like a little glitz and tend not to take things in life too seriously!
The two sisters from Frankfurt am Main (Luzie and Leoni) have long wondered how to change or embellish an old pair of shoes and at the same time make a fashion statement. This gave birth to blingz, which is Shoe charms that can be worn, combined and interchanged no matter what the occasion. With blingz you can basically become a shoe designer and make every shoe individual and unique. You can wear the charms on any part of your lace-up shoes, be it sports or hiking shoes, they only need laces. https://www.blingzblingz.com/en/shop-en/
Our partner brand LSD (LiveShineDiestudios) is a brand, who was created by the creative and fashion designer Eugen, who is originally from Ghana and based in Germany, in a city close to the French borders called : Saarbrücken. Fashion is something he has always been passionated about and also wanted to create unique fashion pieces, that everyone, mostly people like him would wear. Therefore, each piece of his clothings is undeniably a unique piece of art. Best is, if you discover it by yourself:
Those who know us will also know, that a New Afro showroom cannot take place without our favorite sparkling wine manufacturer Vaux Sekt: Based in the famous German wine region Rheingau, at the borders of the river Rhein, this German sparkling wine convinces with its fruity and fresh flavor.
Our Abidjan showrooms will be organized 1 time per month until April 2023. Stay tuned through our social media: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook.
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